tv Chris Christie Town Hall at Politicon CSPAN October 25, 2018 6:12pm-7:15pm EDT
and there is not going to be an objective history done on this administration for a long time. it is not too soon to judge on some aspects of his legacy. i mean it is not too soon to judge on the war in iraq. why? because it did not accomplish what he thought it was going to accomplish before he started the war. it cost 4000+ american lives, it cost $2 trillion and i think i write my book and i don't think that this judgment will change. that it was one of the biggest strategic blunders in american history. >> james mann, sunday night at eight eastern on c-span q&a. up next, remarks and former new jersey governor, chris christie on the trump presidency and future of the
american and democratic party speeds are part of the discussion with msnbc political analyst elise jordan at the event held at the politicon conference in los angeles. it is about an hour. >> hello, thanks everyone for coming out. kind of early i guess in la because everything starts a little later out here. but we are here today with governor chris christie. who was also one of the contenders for the 2016 republican nomination for president. he has had a real view to politics and how they are shaped into the way it is now but also, a two-term governor of new jersey. thanks so much for being with us. >> happy to be here. [cheers and applause] >> just to start out, you were a u.s. attorney and you are appointed today before september 11. >> correct. >> you dealt with a letter
terrorism cases. it went through new jersey ., what do you make of the recent debacle, foreign policy crisis with saudi arabia and the circumstances surrounding the death of the saudi writer, jamal khashoggi? >> we have a lot to learn still. but you're not supposed to go into a building and not come out. let's start with basic principles, right? you're not supposed to go into your own embassy in another country and not come out alive. and so, the fistfight gone awry thing as a prosecutor, you know -- [laughter] seems to me there are a lot of ways to resolve a fistfight gone awry. and then of them include him never coming back out. and so, very skeptical about what we are hearing and the prosecutor in me wants to immediately unleash 200 agents
to start questioning everybody. getting to the bottom of it because in the end, you know, no matter where you are in the world, people should be able to go into the embassy no matter what the point of view is, no matter what their profession is and that worry about coming out alive. anything for any of us, in this country or in other countries around the world, it is something to be really concerned about and something we need to get to the bottom of. and i understand if there's complicated diplomacy that goes along with it and relationships that we have with the saudi royal family and others that we cannot stand by and turn a blind eye to this. because we represent something different to the rest of the world and we have to stand up for what's right. and i think i am confident we will. but we need to get to the bottom of it first. >> will the trump administration, they've made a tight relationship with the saudi elite, the saudi ruling class.
and foreign policy this was demonstrated in president trump 's trip aboard with saudi arabia and it was spearheaded of course by jared kushner. do you think this embrace of mbs, mr. -- do you think embracing this out is that this unconditionally was a smart move? >> listen, time will tell. it is a complicated place as you know. it is a complicated area of the world and we have got to decide how we want to try and make friends with. i think our guiding star all the time is israel. and try to make sure that we protect israel, its sovereignty, its existence. and from there, try to figure out who we can form the best alliances with among the arab countries in order to protect them as first priority. and try to build out and have a more stable peace in the region.
the problem is that you are not dealing with a bunch of democracies over there. except for israel. and so each one of them presents their own particular problem. this is one episode, we have got to evaluate this in the context of the entire relationship. but i am sure that for those who have been advocating very close relationship with the saudi that is an uncomfortable moment. and have to try and figure out now, will the saudis hold the people who did this accountable? and if they don't, then i think, we have got, in our country to something like awful like this to happen we would say the person needs to be investigated. there needs to be an arrest, there needs to be an indictment, the need to be a trial. before we go immediately just to assuming something. i think we need to give them the same amount of room. even though they have a different system.once we figure out if we hold someone accountable or not, then i
think we need to have a foreign-policy reaction.not beforehand, after. once we figure out if they don't hold accountable i think the more severe reaction by the us. that they do hold someone accountable, or a group of people accountable i think we can go back a little bit. >> it is been disconcerting to me to watch the evolution of the administration foreign-policy from the vantage point of is a foreign-policy that's being executed in the trump or christian or family interest or is in the natural interest? you have kushner, you have a meeting with officials from -- and have jared kushner a couple months later, back in the saudis and a blockade. so between the national
interest and what is the family interest, of donald trump and the kushners is problematic. >> we have strict laws new jersey for instance where when i was governor, he prevented me from even putting a family member as distant as a cousin onto any kind of position even among payroll. and they have a pretty strict rule over the course of time. in the aftermath of bobby kennedy being attorney general for his brother. where lyndon johnson passed a set of laws that said they should not be nepotism and there could not be. now the current ministration got interpretations of that to allow them to do what they're doing with jared and with yvanka. there is no christian creates questions even if there is nothing that's been wrong done. what you just laid out is an obvious question that people start to raise and rightfully. i think what happens with some
family sometimes is, is not about the politics, they not accustomed to the scrutiny you will get an every question would be asked. and even when when motors are completely innocent, even when you've done nothing wrong you will be asked. if you're doing something that looks incredibly self-interested. my relationship with charles kushner, for those, some of you left which means that you know. but for those of you that don't, when i was use attorney, i prosecuted charles kushner for tax fraud, champion finance fraud and for witness retaliation against his own sister and brother-in-law when he hired a prostitute to seduce his sister-in-law a videotape and send it to his own sister who is testify before the grand jury regarding the allegations of tax fraud.
i have a book coming out in the end of january you can read all about it. january 29, it will be part of the book that i come out with january 29. i thought you would like that. i have an acquaintance with this family that goes well before jared kushner ever met ivanka trump. let alone married her and that relationship has been both good and bad for me in some respect. >> that was one of many cases that you tried when you were u.s. attorney for new jersey. and then you focused on corruption cases. i think in 2006 and 2007, prosecuted more corruption cases than any other u.s. attorney. in the country. so corruption has been a big focus of yours when you were in that position and now, looking at the present-day situation in
american politics and there are a lot of appearance issues with the trump administration. say, the hotel. the trump hotel. if you look at it from your lens as a prosecutor would you say it is or it appears or is an appearance issue? or how would you approach looking at the trump administration and corruption issue? >> if the hotel thing, that doesn't really bother me. it was a pre-existing hotel. this is what we got when we elected someone who is a businessman that had really broad business interest. and even if the president were no longer profiting directly from revenues from his hotels, the golf courses and all the rest of it, the family would be family-owned and not public. and i don't think it would be fair to make the entire family -- what they could sell it for knowing had to sell it, would be a fraction of what it was really worth. i don't think that the presidents family should be penalized for the fact that the american people elected him.
i think they all have to be, everybody in the family needs to be careful and conscious of what they do. i think ivanka trump now has ended her clothing line and a couple of other things. those kind of things make sense. don't put yourself in a position where people will question you that much. that was not core part of the trump business anyway. let's face it. the core part of the businesses are the hotels, office buildings and the golf courses. and they should be allowed to think to run the businesses but listen, there's no question the prosecutors will be watching public officials all the time. part of the system, part of the way it should be. and if there is something that needs to be handled it will be handled. and i have confidence in that. the justice department is in a little bit of a -- you know, how should i put it? a little bit of turmoil right now. but that doesn't affect the u.s. attorney. if it was fighting going on in
washington, it was just another excuse to stay out of washington. you know? stay as far away as possible. -- secretary of homeland security, he was my boss at the justice department when i was u.s. attorney. and he was also the u.s. attorney in new jersey. he said the great thing about being u.s. attorney is a site being the captain of a ship. it's out at sea and the justice department is the base. sometimes you hear the radio and sometimes you don't. i think most u.s. attorneys -- they know what they need to do. i think they're good people and they will do well. question coming was actually your boss when you were u.s. attorney. >> he was. he would not collect first and then my boss. >> you are familiar with robert mueller. >> i am. >> do you think that when the russian investigation is concluded, should the investigation findings be disclosed to congress? >> it's interesting because the
law is different now as you know. the light used to be that everyone had to be disclosed to congress, then the law changed, then the clinton investigation, congress killed that law and now has it that the report was to the attorney general and attorney general decides what should be revealed publicly or not. i think it is impossible to believe that that report will not become public. whether it is supposed to be or isn't. all right? it will become public. whether people need to leak it or the attorney general or whoever it is of the time will decide to -- one or the other or both. two things. i have an opinion. i worked with james comey. he was u.s. attorney in manhattan when i was u.s. attorney in new jersey. and then he got promoted to deputy attorney general which
made him my boss. the james comey that i knew back then, is significantly different than the james comey became director of the fbi. and the things that he did quite frankly, when director of the fbi, to hillary clinton, were unthinkable. unthinkable! unthinkable that you would come out of a press conference as fbi director, and say we are not charging you but let me tell you a bunch of really awful things about her. that is not what we are supposed to do is prosecutors. we're just supposed to charge or shut up. if you have enough evidence to charge somebody, let them have it. if you don't, then keep quiet! [applause] it was totally unfair to her. and what it did was, it forced him to then to the letter he did in october. none there is a rule in the justice department that we all know. in 60 days of an election, you
do nothing. because we do not want prosecutors to be affecting elections. because you hold a special place in the public mind and if we come out and do something or say something the public says wait a second, we should listen to this because the prosecutors -- when he did that the end of october, the only reason he had to do it was the bad decision he made in july. if he kept his mouth shut back then, he would have no reason to say anything else in october. all of this benefit of the candidate i was supporting. still made me sick to my stomach. because prosecutors shouldn't be doing those things. by the way, last point, jim was in a prosecutor anymore! but he was acting like one. he was the investigator. investigators don't decide whether to prosecute someone or not. prosecutors do. and i was u.s. attorney, the head of the fbi, if he was where he was out i he would have been fired. i don't think the president should have kept him i advised
him of that in the transition. i said if you're going to fire jim, do it now don't let him start serving. he would have saved himself a lot of hassle. when asked about bob mueller, he was fbi director when i was u.s. attorney. in all of the years i worked with him, i never found him to be anything but honest, straight and fair. and so, i do believe that what he will attempt to do when this investigation is over which i think will be between now and the end of the year, he will try to be honest, straight and fair. i may agree or disagree with some of it. but bob mueller is the kind of guy, i will give you one quick example because i know we have to move on but bob mueller was u.s. attorney in san francisco. when the clinton administration came in, he was fired. that is the normal course of things. and bob mueller went to private practice for little. eric holder the term is u.s. attorney in washington d.c.. he asked holder if he could work
on local murder cases in washington d.c.. this is a guy that had been u.s. attorney in san francisco. he came back to washington d.c. to be lined prosecutor. to prosecute murder cases in washington d.c.. this is a guy that just loves doing this. this is bad news for the president. right? you know, he loves doing it i think is generally a fair guy. but he doesn't. he's killer. he has you in his sight and he believes you've done something wrong, you can develop the evidence to take you, he will not hesitate. i've never known him to be unfair. i think one of the things that is evidence of that, though! oh, you've not seen that in the office. >> it's been incredible. >> no leaking. that doesn't happen by accident everybody. you have to work hard to make sure the people in your office know if something leaks they
era, and he just wasn't ready to do combat in a campaign in 2016 under the rules you and i saw applied in 2016. so i don't think paul was up to it, and i didn't think he would last, and he didn't. but to see him come in in a wheelchair yesterday is really sad. because, let's face it, the only reason paul manafort got indicted was because they were trying to squeeze him to get information on donald trump. it's a 12-year-old tax case, right? and i think he committed the crimes, and he's admitted to them, so you can't argue with that. but to see a guy who committed crimes that are wrong and that deprived the united states of tax money that they were entitled to and unfair to all of us who pay our taxes and do it fairly, to see him in a wheelchair and know that he's probably going to jail for the rest of his natural life, to me -- and this is, i have really no personal relationship with paul or not much of one, but
just to see that on a human level, i think, was really sad. because that is what jail can do to someone who is not used to it and is of his age and has not lived a life where he's used to that kind of confinement. >> he also had different judgment, i think, than maybe you would have had if you were put in the position of, in june 2016 when donald trump jr. decided along with paul manafort -- >> and jared -- >> and jared kushner to take a meeting in trump tower -- >> yes. >> would you have ever taken that meeting? >> never. never in a million years. listen, and this is participant of the, you know, i've always said to people having been involved with the trump campaign really from the end of february of '16 when i endorsed him after i got out of the race until probably about may of '16 when i got moved to run the transition so then i was kind of out of the campaign day-to-day.
i used to say to folks no way there was any collusion because the trump campaign wasn't organized enough to collude. [laughter] it takes some organization to actually come up with a plan to collude. and i don't think they were organized enough to collude. now, it didn't matter, right? because they won anyway. but it wasn't organized enough. now, how that meeting is evidence to that is you know having been involved in presidential campaigns and i billion a -- being at the top of one, a request for a meeting comes in with high-level people, the campaign chairman, the son of the candidate, the son-in-law of the candidate, that gets immediately moved to the campaign's lawyer to say, okay, is this an appropriate meeting, a legal meeting for us to take. i can guarantee you that no one ever asked don mcgahn, who was the campaign and white house counsel, is this a good idea. there was no process within the campaign to do that normal type of vetting. and that's how you wind up with people making decisions like this without any legal
counseling to tell them, are you crazy? you're meeting with a foreign national, representatives of foreign nationals in the midst of a presidential campaign who are going to offer you incriminating information on another candidate? like, are you kidding? you can't do that. that's not, that's not good. [laughter] can't do that, right? you need a lawyer to grab these people by the lapels, because you know that sometimes people -- especially operatives and family members -- winning is everything and advocating for your guy is the most important thing or your woman. and i get that. but that's why we have lawyers in campaigns to step back and go, wait a second, i know you'd love to get dirt on hillary clinton, but we can't take any dirt from the russians on hillary clinton or chinese or the turks, whoever's walking in the door. so i'll go as the lawyer and meet with those people tell them, i'm sorry, in this the window is closed. but that never happened. and i think paul, don jr. and
jared all probably wish they had talked to don mcgahn first. they wouldn't be spending as much time with bob mueller as they have been if they did. >> just from my vantage point as a foreign policy adviser on senator rand paul's campaign, it was suggested that perhaps mike flynn would be a meeting to have during the campaign. and i said, eh, don't think that's a very good idea. >> good job. >> usually the kind of people you have around you say, no, we're just not going to do that, and it doesn't necessarily have to get to the high level. but you ended up dealing with a lot of these personnel issues because you took over the transition and kind of filled a vacuum where nothing was happening at all -- >> very true. >> -- put these plans into place, and you had some pretty specific personnel suggestions. there's a terrific scene talking about you on the couch sitting next to donald trump at about 1:30 a.m. when pennsylvania was
called, and the reality has sunk in that, wow, donald trump is going to be president. and he doesn't even have a concession speech, much less he himself hasn't thought about the transition. >> well, he didn't want to talk about the transition. remember, he appointed me in may to run the transition because he had to. because there's a law now, there's a federal law that says that transitions must start in the second quarter of the year the election is going on. because they realize how complex a transition is. and you can't just do it in the 73 days after you win. so, but the president always said to me, i hate this, it's bad karma -- [laughter] it's bad luck, we're measuring the drapes, we haven't won anything. he spent time in the transition, mitt romney forgot he had to win first. [laughter] you know? and the president regularly used to say to me that's why i want you to do it, because you're smart enough, you can do it by yourself. you don't even have to talk to me. i don't want to hear about it.
>> okay. >> i don't want you to talk to me about it. >> but you raised a lot of money -- >> well, i didn't raise -- that's part of, some of the stuff in michael lewis' book is right and some of it's wrong. the whole scene is the president cursing and screaming at me about raising money. never happened. never happened. another steve bannon-created fiction. why do i know it was steve bannon? because there were only three people in the room. it was me, the president and steve bannon. and i know that michael lewis didn't interview the president, and he didn't interview me, so who'd he interview, you know? let's see, one, two -- yeah, that's it. never happened. the president read a story labor day weekend 2016 that we were having a fund raiser for the transition. he called me from trump force one and said how much money are you raising? i said, donald, it's a million dollars. it's a million dollars, that's it. it's not a lot of money. and most of it is coming from my fundraising list.
not even yours. so just remain calm, it's okay. he goes, all right, well, come to the apartment tomorrow, let's talk about it so i know what's going on. so i did go to the apartment the next day, and steve bannon was there for half the meeting. he walked in in the middle of it. all the prime minister said to me was -- president said to me was are you going to raise any more? i said, no, we've got 140 people on staff, we had office space in washington, d.c., we did have some expenses. and he said to me, all right, go ahead. and he did say to me i'd like to shut down the transition, it's bad karma. i said, sir, we're 60 days from the election, and we can't shut down the transition. and bannon did jump in and say it would look bad if we shut down the transition, because it would look like we thought we couldn't win. and then i added, and by the way, it's against the law. laugh. >> oh, law. >> and he said to me, you won't do it then? i said, no. [laughter] but if you'd like to fire me and hire someone who will break the
law for you, you're more than welcome, but i'm not going to do it. he said, all right, chris, all right, go and handle it. he did say i don't know if you need to do all this stuff because me and you, we're smart enough that we could do the whole transition if we just left the victory party two hours early. [laughter] i think he learned since then that wasn't really the case. >> but so you recommended that president trump not bring mike flynn on as national security adviser? >> oh, begged. begged. i started working with mike flynn, excuse me, in july of '16 because when donald trump became the nominee apart in june of '16, the director of national intelligence called me from the obama administration and said mr. trump is now entitled to high-level national security briefings. and you're head of the transition, you're the person to coordinate that. so i said, okay, how does it work? he said he can come with two
aides. all right, great. so i go back to donald and say, okay, this is the deal, this is how it works, and he said, all right, i want you to flynn. i said, okay. so i went to the first of those meetings, and let me just say i was not impressed with general flynn and the way he handled himself in those meetings. and i made that clear to the candidate. and there were a number of times thereafter both in the intelligence briefings that i sat in with the president and general flynn and then also in debate prep where general flynn was involved for a brief period of time until i took it over. i just said, in fact, the last time i talked to the president about it was the day after the election. and i told him, you know, don't hire this guy. and he said you don't like him, why? and i said, i don't like him because he's going to get you in trouble. and he didn't listen. and, you know, what, he was the
shortest serving national security adviser of all time? 17 days? you've got to be pretty bad for that to happen. he wasn't fit for the job temperamentally. you need someone who's reasoned and calm and bright in that job. and he only checked one of those boxes. mike flynn's a smart guy but reasoned and calm, he is not. and he made a lot of bad decisions that hurt the president, and he's now a federal felon. he's a criminal. you can't have a national security adviser who lies to the fbi. not allowed. that's against the rules. >> it's funny, because all of these pretty huge mistakes have one factor in common with the jim comey firing, with the decision to elevate mike flynn, the decision to cozy up with saudi arabia, jared kushner decisions. >> supposedly. i mean, i don't know. ultimately, these are the
president's decisions. ultimately. i don't want to give the president off the hook. you're the person in charge, you ultimately make these decisions. but i also know as the chief executive of a really big state, you know, you do rely heavily on the advice of those around you because there are so many decisions to make that you can't possibly dig into the detail of every decision. i mean, that's just a fact. i mean, there are times when decisions have to be made, and the job of the above or the president is to decide, okay, which one of these do i really have to dig in on. and which ones can i take the advice i'm getting and just execute on it because i trust these people. so i think the president has the responsibility for it, but there's no question that the trump campaign reveled in the idea that they had no experience. they wore it as a badge of honor. and politically that was smart, because people are pretty sick and tired of washington d.c. i can tell you, my wife mary pat
would go door the door campaigning in new hampshire, and when she would introduce herself to people, they would go, oh, yeah, governor christie, we love him. he's so smart and blunt and direct. i mean, we voted for trump, but we love your husband. [laughter] wait a second, if you think my husband is so smart and direct and blunt, why are you voting for trump? yeah, we don't want another politician. >> there actually was a new york times analysis that, i think, from may to august in 2015 that 57% of your supporters moved over to trump. and the same thing happened to so many other campaigns. >> oh, yeah. listen, we did a poll -- when -- i got endorsed by the manchester union leader, the biggest newspaper in new hampshire, and by "the boston herald". and we moved to second place in the polls in new hampshire. and when we did, we didn't have a lot of money in our campaign, so we didn't do a lot of polling, but we did some polling then to see if we could verify
the public polling that showed i was in second place. and one of the things we asked was when people responded they were voters of another candidate, we'd say who's your second choice? when we asked trump voters who's your second choice, 38% of them said me. and the next closest was ted at 9. so that told us two things, good news and bad news. the good news is if trump ever drops out, you're the republican nominee for president. the bad news is if trump doesn't drop out, you're not the republican nominee for president. [laughter] so we felt very clearly by the beginning of january that we had fought off way through this thicket of 17 candidates that we had performed really well in debates, that we had gotten the enforcement of the two major conservative newspapers in new hampshire, the boston herald and the union leader, and that we were ready to be the challenger to trump. and it all looked that way.
and then marco rubio and jeb bush decided to spend, in the first two weeks of january between the two of them, $8 million in negative ads against me in new hampshire. and i went from second to fifth pretty quick. >> well, you could also argue that you changed the course of the entire race at a certain debate in new hampshire. >> yes, i did. [laughter] listen, i just think debates are -- presidential debates are about putting a spotlight on someone that's so bright that you can't help but see who they are. and that's why -- people used to ask me all the time right before debates, mostly my supporters, we'd have dip theres before the debates -- dinners before the debates, are you nervous? hell no. because i'd been in new hampshire. [laughter] right? like, the light's so bright there that i wasn't worried about standing up on that stage. i knew that i could take it and that whatever people saw, that's who i am. other people less so.
and i knew that for me to stay in the race i had to get through marco rubio. so it was an absolute calculated decision on my part, and i led with it the whole week after iowa. i was calling him the boy in the bubble, and i said, you know, he has fake town halls, he takes three pre-screened, handwritten questions, and then he calls it a town hall. i do two hour town halls where nobody has to submit their question before hand. you know, this guy's not real. you can't elect this guy president. this guy is obama. he's obama just from our side of the aisle. he's a first-term the senator who's not ready to be president. so i was ready to make that argument, and i remember being in the green room with my campaign staff right before the debate, and my campaign manager looked at me and she goes, all right, you haven't told anybody what you've got in mind. and she walked me kind of out of the room, looked at me, said,
it's me and you now. what are you going to do? and i said, i'm not going to tell you. i said, but what i will tell you is marco rubio's campaign ends tonight. and she just looked at me and said, yes, sir. and i went on the stage, and we did, we ended rubio's campaign that night. and i had hoped that by ending his campaign his supporters would come to me. what ultimately happened was what we saw in the post-election polling was that me, jeb and kasich pretty much divided up the amount that rubio lost evenly so that i didn't get the benefit that i thought i would. but i do think that our party and the country got the benefit out of it, because i do think that hillary clinton would have beaten marco rubio. and i think we'd be in the middle of a hillary clinton presidency now. so that wouldn't have been something that i would have been, you know, to in favor of. >> i could sit and talk campaign drama the entire rest of the time, but i guess i'll ask one more question, then we'll open it up. but in new hampshire i think you
opened your campaign or made a major policy address about american exceptionalism. and you talked about the need for the united states to have principles that we stand for and that world knows what we stand for. would you say that donald trump, that his foreign policy embodies american exceptionalism, or how would you define his foreign policy todaysome. >> well, it does, it's just a different type than what i was talking about. you know, donald's view, i believe -- the president's view -- of the way that should be expressed is through our economic strength almost exclusively. and our military strength. he talks about fact that he can push on these trade deals the way he's pushing and, listen, he's been successful. he got a better deal with mexico now, better deal with canada now, better deal with south korea now. and i'm willing to bet whatever you've got in your pocket that we'll have a better deal with the e.u. and with china by time
he's done do. he believes that our exceptionalism is expressed through our economic strength and our military strength. i believe that the third element of that is also our moral strength. and i don't think president talks about that as much as he should. but i think that he is showing people around the world that america is going to stand for certain things, and one of those things is true free markets. he believes that if americans are allowed to compete on an even playing field with anyone, that we'll win. and i think he's right. and what he has said is it's not been fair. trade has not been fair. he's right. over the course of the last 30 or 40 years at least. and so he's made that at least the place where he's decided to make his stand on american exceptionalism. almost exclusively. he said this is where we're going to define it. we're going to define it as we are exceptional economic actors, we have better work ethic, we
have better ingenuity than any other country in the world. and if i can level the playing field, the american economy will soar. and let's face it, everybody, we're looking at unemployment below 4%, we're looking at some really good results in the stock market and in other indicators. and now he's going to have to work on trying to deal with this deficit which i think is going to be a long -- is a long-term problem for us and one that he's going to have to start to grapple with because we can't run debt going forward because interest rates are starting to go back up. it's going to cost us more and more to service this debt. we've had pretty much free money since 2008 and the economic crisis, and the fed is starting to raise interest rates, and we're going to have to get smart about the fact that we're paying, like, half of 1% on, you know, a couple of trillion dollars. when that goes to 2 or 2.5%, that's a lot of money.
and so that's his next big challenge. but i think he's decided to stake his presidency from a political perspective on this trade issue. and i think so far he's been successful. we'll see if he continues to be he does, it's going to help us economically even if there's short-term pain along the way. >> and without the moral value component that you mentioned -- >> right. >> do you think that his attitude towards the press emboldens -- >> listen, it's everybody's attitude towards the press -- [laughter] >> enemy of the people? >> no, no. [applause] >> no, i would politely, very politely, you had -- you would joust with the press. >> right. >> but you never called the press the enemy of the people. >> no, listen, i don't think they're the enemy of people, but i think most of what he says -- any candidate you've worked with or me thinks that at times. we just don't say it. right? we think it, we say it privately about how biased certain reporters are or about how, you
know, certain commentators are just, you know, have their own a agenda. we all talk about that when we're in the midst of campaigns. he just says it. now, i've told him i think saying that the press is the enemy of the people isn't helpful. [laughter] right? just not helpful, it's not good, it's not helpful. but let me also say in this: i voted for donald trump, and everybody who did vote for donald trump, we knew what we were getting. like, it wasn't like he acted like some refined guy during the campaign -- [laughter] and then all of a sudden he showed up at the white house and started tweeting at 2:00 in the morning outrageous things. he didn't tell us that. we got what we paid for, right? [applause] so it doesn't mean, and i'm sure that even for those who are clapping that there are moments when he will to or say certain things when you go, oh! [laughter] pull that one back. delete that tweet.
did anyone screen shot it? oh, damn, they did. okay. but that's who he is. and i think that we selected him at a time in our history when those people in new hampshire -- as often as they're criticized for maybe not being the people who should be deciding who our presidential candidates are -- they were reflecting what the rest of the country felt we found out in november. they said, yeah, we like straight, direct, blunt, that's what we want, but we don't want it from a politician. we want it from someone else who's never been in politics before. i actually was next to the guy you were working for at one of the debates when trump really went after him, went after rand pretty hard. and during one of the commercials i turned to rand, and i said, so, you're definitely off the christmas card list. [laughter] and he looked at me and he goes, this is unbelievable. [laughter] right? and, like, rand and i were not
the closest of friends -- >> oh, i think they saw it. i think they -- >> at all. we didn't get along on almost anything. but, like, he was, i mean, he was looking at me, even at me and going, can you believe this? [laughter] so we got what we paid for, and people have to get used to it. so now we'll take your questions. >> hi, governor. born in -- [inaudible] general hospital. >> oh, there you go -- >> my mother taught first grade in se reville for 36 years, and i supported you. one of the things i like about new jersey is that it's independent, and so many people are purple. not just that the state might be blue or red -- >> yep. >> -- but its people are purple. you talked about corruption and the risk of corruption. i make an assumption that i think we could easily make. we know that president -- or trump organization's funds, all of its loans are in foreign entities.
and we know that you can buy debt. and i think it would be malpractice if i was putin if i didn't buy all of that debt. when is the risk -- what is the risk, do you think, if the leader of the non-free world owns the debt of the leader of the free world? >> well, listen, i think a few things. i'll -- for the sake of answering question, i'll accept all the premises in your question -- >> it would be malpractice if you didn't. [laughter] >> so i'll accept that. i would just say to you this, that's why when you're president of united states, you should have no choice but to put your country first. >> not your loan officer. >> not your loan officer, your country first. and i do believe -- >> aren't we at a risk of that? >> i do believe that -- no, well, i don't think we are because i do think that the president -- if president putin ever tried to blackmail president trump and say you
either do x or i'm going to call your debt and harm you economically in some way, i think the president would stand up to him. and i don't think he would -- >> i got $10 if you want to bet on that. [applause] >> i mean, that's just my opinion for having known the president for 16 years. i don't think he would take kindly to that type of threat. and i would love to see president putin try to pull it off, because i don't think he could. >> well, governor, i'm from texas, but you, from my opinion, you had a very successful governorship, and i livedded in -- went to nyu, so i know the corzine years were really terrible -- >> [inaudible] >> exactly. i'm speaking of building on your success, what happened to the political climate in new jersey that caused the democrats to take over the governorship even though it seems like, i mean, camden, newark, you know, these are cities that are completely run by democrats, and they're,
you know, they're very hard places to live. i mean, how do they convert what little accomplishment, if any, into these electoral successes in new jersey? >> remember a few things about my state, there are 900,000 more registered democrats than republicans. so it is a blue state. despite what the first questioner talked about it being purple, it's a blue state. we haven't elected a republican to the united states senate since 1972. we have the longest streak of any state in america not to the elect a republican to the u.s. senate. so it's a tough state. now, what happens -- >> i would be curious if bob me 9/11 december -- menendez -- >> we can get to bob menendez. [laughter] but here's the thing, there has been a pattern this new jersey over the last 40 years where there's not been one two-term democratic governor in 40 years. but there's been three two-term republican governors. tom cain, christy bitman and
me -- whitman and me. so what's happened prettilyically in -- politically in our state is you have a democrat who comes in, raises taxes, increasing spending, expands power of government, new jerseyans go, oh, we don't like that, let's elect a republican. the republican cuts taxes, cuts spending and gets government autoout of their amounts, and they're like, okay, let's reelect the person. by the time eight years gets done, new jerseyans get tired of being said no to, and republican governors say no. no, i'm not raising taxes, no, i'm not expanding that program, no, no, no, no, no. and then someone runs who says yes to everything. yeah, i'll expand that, we'll to this, we'll to that. and so they'll give you names that you remember. so brendan byrne establishes the income tax the, we get two terms of republican tom cain. he leaves office with a 65%
approval rating, yet the state elects jim florio, a democrat governor after him, with 60% of vote. he raises taxes, raises spending, he lasts one term, he gets beat by christy whitman. she gets to end he of her term d then who gets elected? jim mcgreevey. that was quite a time. [laughter] and then leaves a after one term, corzine replaces him because he resigns, and corzine does a term of taxes, spending, debt, and i win and get reelected with 61% of the vote in a blue state. they get tired of us though. you get two terms, new jersey gets amnesia. and now we've got phil murphy from goldman sachs, another goldman sachs guy -- >> just like corps i'm. >> bought his way into the governorship just like jon corzine did, only he bought it at a bargain price. corzine spent $45 million to buy
it in the 2005. murphy only had to spend $35 million in 2017, so he actually got it for a bargain. and he's now raised six different taxes already in the first nine months he's been in office. so i've got a feeling you're going to see another republican in 2021. i don't know who it's going to be, but past is prologue, and i think that's what'll happen. >> thank you. >> hi, governor. i absolutely adore your candor. >> thank you. >> it's always been something that has meant a lot to me. .. >> on new jersey it's one of the biggest states in the country. the second most active port in america.
it just wasn't good for my state. i would've had a different.of view as a presidential candidate. when your governor, you have to divide the two jobs. even when i was thinking of running for president when i vetoed it and i know it will be popular, it was what was right for new jersey. if i did things that would limit that the port of new york and elizabeth, the second largest port in the country, a chance for about 75000 jobs in my state. as governor, i had to put my state first and that's why i did it. >> did you get blowback from that? >> son. but in new jersey you get blowback no matter what you do. >> thank you, so much. >> thank you for your kind words. >> governor christie, your data drivdriven person, as you think about the state of the united states long-term what are the numbers you care about most that you pay attention to and what would you like them to be long-term?
>> to me, one of the most important numbers to look at is the percentage of our population that is being educated. by that i mean either vocational education or college education. we no longer have an economic system that will allow us to have high school graduates be able to make a middle-class living. and whether that's for your college or vocational it doesn't matter to me but it has to be one of them. continuing to see that opportunity is the single most important indicator for the future of your country. because if we don't have people who can strive toward and achieve a middle class existence then you become political unstable. >> how can we do that? >> i think one of the ways to do them is to start investing more in vocational education.
i think were in a society now that people consider if you don't go to a four-year college or failure and i think that's wrong. a four-year college is not for everybody. the fact is, i know that we have really high-paying jobs in the building trades that are going on filled because we don't have enough trade people to do it. those are jobs where you can make like 100 - 100 $75,000 per year as a building trades person. that's a really good living even in a state like new jersey. what we need to do is political leaders need to start giving permission to parents of the children to do something other than a four-year college if that's where they draw them to. we keep talking about the only way success is defined is by going to harvard, and that is not it. i did not go to harvard. [applause] >> first of all, thank you for single-handedly destroying little marco rubio.
i think i watch that clip 40 times over and got nothing but enjoyment out of it. thank you for that. my question is in regard to the opiate emmett epidemic. i know you care deeply about that and you call it the aids of our generation. according to two studies in the journal of the american medical association, legal recreational marijuana would help fight the opiate epidemic. knowing that in that 62% of america's favor legalization why not favor that? >> because it's wrong. i can cite you studies from both harvard medical school and from stanford that tell you the opposite and tell you that marijuana is still a gateway drug and that people who try it between 14 and 18 are three times more likely to try opiates or methamphetamines then people who don't.
i just don't believe that when we are in the midst of a drug addiction crisis we need to legalize another drug. people say well we have alcohol and all the rest. i get that but. >> would you ban that? >> no you can't put the toothpaste back in the two. that's an important argument about marijuana. because once you legalize this that toothpaste never goes back in the two. you can. >> we can't do it we tried it, it was called prohibition and it didn't work. >> should it stay legal in california? >> the states have the right to do what they want on this. but what i would tell you is that that broad legalization of marijuana won't come in my view alleviate or even minimize the opiate crisis, in fact it may add to it.
i will also say that i almost never agree with the teachers union in any state, anywhere, but the colorado education association has said this year that the single biggest challenge for their members to educate middle schoolers on high schoolers is with legalize marijuana. people are coming with gummy bears and other edibles, they are high in school and high a good part of the time minutes making it difficult for them to teach. that's not me, that's the colorado education association. i'm sure if they were watching they would be appalled to know that i agree with them. but i agree with them and i respectfully disagree with your.of view. >> if were serious about that but i give you my card. i have never voted for republican but i would consider voting for you. do you think today's republican party would nominate someone
like you who calls it how they see it even if it goes against their favorite guy? >> i think they would've in 2016. i think the climate was perfect for someone like me except we got the guy who starve the apprentice and 100% name id and it's hard to run against. i think we all get caught up in fake news. despite all the history to the contrary nothing in america's permanent. that's why america is so great. america is constantly evolving. the reason we are is that people are allowed to speak and say whatever they want. we are constantly changing. i think the republican party as it is today will not be the same two years from now or four years from now. the same way that bill bradley, let me tell you something, bill bradley could not get arrested in today's democratic party.
he is so moderate. >> the same could be said for reagan. >> right. but you just want to bring up republicans but let me tell you something, what we have in the democratic party speaking of right now the fact that bernie sanders is the thought leader in the democratic party nationally. that's frightening, he's a socialist. if you think socialism is a good idea go to venezuela. see how things are going down there. >> but i'm saying, all the energy, all the thought energy in the democratic party today is from bernie sanders and bernie sanders types. the united states senators are
sprinting to get as close to bernie sanders as they possibly can. cory booker, from my state who used to be in favor of school vouchers, who used to be against the teachers union and stand up for israel, you can't recognize him right now. i watched him and this is a guy we worked with for years and considered a friend. >> i'm asking about the republican party. >> i already conceded that .2. this is a problem with america right now. i said to you reagan would have a hard time getting nominated right now. but you tell me the moderate democrat right now. >> the rich can the republican party nominate a reasonable guy like you. >> i said yes they could nominate me and know reagan would have a hard time getting
nominated. you want me to like fall on the stage and say you're right, the republican party sucks. i'm not going to say that. >> i don't. >> that actually. >> it unfortunately that insanity answer panel. [applause] >> if you had to take one democrat who you thought was the greatest threat in 2020 what would you pick? >> i want child to think about this. but two years from now if he really runs, you're going to look back and go holy cow, kristi said that. no will start thinking about him. i want you to think about him and here's why, not washington d.c., two-term executive from a significant state, massachusetts and very articulate and smart.
i think he could give donald trump the best challenge because he could challenge him on executive background, he can challenge him in terms of his ability to have gotten things done in government and he's a very articulate spokesman for his.of view. he will not carry the washington baggage with him. i guarantee one other thing. if the democrats nominate a sitting united states senator for president, they will lose, and lose easily. there is no way harris, cory booker, elizabeth warren, amy clover shar, jill a brent, forget it. trump will eat them alive. >> thank you so much. thank you for coming out over a great talk.
[applause] >> with the midterm elections just days away, watch the competition for the control of congress on c-span. see for yourself the candidates on the debates from key house and senate races. make c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. >> with 12 days now until the midterm election, c-span's 2018 coverage continues with the wyoming senate debate between incumbent republican and democrat. they meet in cheriton of this debate. you can see it live at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> book tv is live all weekend
from the texas book festival in austin starting at 11:00 a.m. eastern with josé vargas in his book, dear america, notes of an undocumented citizen. sarah with her book, heartland memoir working hard and being broke in the richest country on earth. presidential historian discusses his book, presidents of war and amy chose eric on her book, chasing hillary. on sunday, our live coverage continues at noon eastern with stanford university francis yuki alma discussing his book identity, journalist laura with her book, the making of a dream, how a group of young undocumented immigrants help change what it means to be american. mark leave povich talks about his game.
on the mimi swarts on her book. the quest to create an artificial heart. watch live coverage in austin on book tv. >> both the house and senate are away on break, the house will be back on tuesday november 13. the chambers expected to start work tough on the federal government. the senate returns that same day with lawmakers planning to work on coast guard programs and a nomination for the federal reserve board. follow the house live on c-span apollo the senate live on c-span2. >> earlier this week, national security advisor john bolton met with russian president