MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace called out former New Jersey governor and Donald Trump ally Chris Christie for not having criticized some of Trump’s more awful behavior and then insinuated his current criticisms of the president are happening for purely cynical, careerist reasons, rather than due to any sort of principles.
But the former Bush administration staffer just let the matter drop after Christie denied that characterization of his actions, stood by his support for Trump over the last four years, and then made a bunch of apples to oranges comparisons to defend himself.
The exchange came during a discussion of Trump’s refusal to accept the result of the election he lost. After Christie said, in his view, that Trump needs to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration for the good of the country, Wallace responded with a fairly harsh question.
“It is my sense, and I know you said in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, you haven’t ruled out a run in 2024. I don’t remember you coming out and forcefully pushing back against Donald Trump’s comments on the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. I didn’t hear you, after he called African nations ‘bleep-hole nations.’ I didn’t hear you distance yourself from this president at any point until the target for his ire and lawlessness was the democracy you haven’t ruled out leading in four years. Are you simply making a political calculation that you could clean the Trump stink off you faster than Marco Rubio or some of the other competitors?” Wallace asked.
Yes, it’s a spicy sounding mic drop and fun to watch. Or, perhaps, would have been, except for the fact that Christie just dismissed it, talked for several minutes about unrelated things he presented as comparable, and then received absolutely no pushback from Wallace after.
“No, I’m not, Nicolle, and in fact, at the end of it, I made a decision back in 2016 that the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was one where I was with Donald Trump. I don’t regret that choice, I still don’t regret it today. I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton today, if that choice were to be made. So, uh, that’s not what I’m saying. But what I am saying is that, you know, I evaluate these things one at a time,” Christie said.
Christie then listed off several examples of times he did “speak out” against Trump.
“I was a very vocal critic of what he had to say about Jeff Sessions, even though I think Jeff Sessions was a horribly flawed attorney eneral. But I don’t think you can treat somebody like that. I’ve been very open and critical about the president and the way he’s spoken about Chris Wray, and Chris Wray’s leadership of the FBI, which I think has been so much better than what Jim Comey did, and really exemplary. Chris Wray has shown the kind of integrity that he has in leading the FBI,” Christie said. “And so there were plenty of times where I’ve spoken, believe me, because I’ve gotten the angry phone calls from people in the White House, I’m telling you that they didn’t like what I said.”
“So, you can pick out ones where you believe I didn’t speak out, and you’re right, I didn’t say things about that. And um, but other things were motivating me at that time,” Christie continued. “But when I felt like his conduct as president is something that I was incredibly opposed to, that I thought was very important for our country, I spoke out.”
So if we understand him correctly, Trump’s “Access Hollywood” comments, his racist statements about African nations, and his “ire and lawlessness” were not things Christie “was incredibly opposed to” or “thought was important for our country.” But Trump being rude to two fellow Republicans was.
Or so we assume, which we’ll have to, since Wallace didn’t bother to ask him for clarification on any of that or even follow up on her initial dis, and instead just moved on after smiling politely throughout his monologuing. Shrug emoji, we guess.
Watch the clip above.