Why Chris Christie Will Never Be President of the United States
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor since 2010, has qualities and achievements that appeal to mainstream conservatives, from his direct style to his impressive budget cutting. As a result, he has won support to run as a Republican candidate for president of the United States.
But Christie has an Achilles Heel that gives one pause.
He came under criticism from fellow conservatives for nominating Sohail Mohammed, an Islamist who aspires to apply Islamic law, the Shari'a, as a state superior court judge; for an outline of these concerns, see the Investigative Project on Terrorism, "Gov. Christie's Strange Relationship with Radical Islam."
In response, Christie delivered a tirade on July 26, 2011, on the topic of Shari'a:
New Jersey State Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed.
New Jersey State Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed.
(2) Calling critics of Mohammed "crazies" who are "accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background" reveals Christie to be a headstrong ignoramus; the IPT report on Mohammed is not about religious background but political activities.
(3) Contrarily, Christie won the hearty endorsement today of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose New Jersey branch issued a statement thanking him, applauding him, and urging a note of gratitude be sent him via the "Contact Us" page at the governor's website.
(4) Not a bad idea to contact Christie: if you live in New Jersey and wish to register your displeasure, go to http://www.state.nj.us/governor/contact/.
(5) Although still a small issue, Shari'a has grown very fast since 9/11 as a concern to Americans and should continue to do so for many years and decades to come.
(6) Conceivably, Christie could apologize for these remarks and undo much of the damage he's done himself. But, given his public persona, I doubt this will happen.
(7) Therefore, I predict that Christie's unremitting Grover Norquist-like friendly attitude toward Islamists will turn conservatives against him and sink his possible candidacy of his for higher office.
(8) Because his July 26 statement is Christie's most extended discussion of Shari'a and related topics, I include a full transcript of his reply:
(August 5, 2011)
Aug. 6, 2011 update: For a substantial reply to Christie's rant, answering him point by point, see the excellent 2,500-word analysis by Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. Excerpts from his article, "Christie's 'Crazies': Sharia is not a figment of our imagination":
Sep. 27, 2011 update: Aaron Blake of the Washington Post reveals today that Christie's stance on the Shari'a is hardly his only wondering off the conservative reservation. All this less likely that he could become president.
Feb. 29, 2012 update: Christie responded predictably to the news that the New York Police Department conducted surveillance on Muslims in New Jersey without telling state law enforcement agencies.
Comment: It's a typical intemperate, unthinking, and foolish Christie performance when the topic is Islam.
May 1, 2012 update: Steven Emerson and I co-authored an article today on "Chris Christie's Islam Problem."
May 8, 2012 update: More on the governor's not being a conservative at "Chris Christie's ObamaCare Acquiescence" by Mike Proto.
June 8, 2012 update: Patrick Poole reveals that a New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness document from 2008, "HAMAS Sympathizers in New Jersey: Supporting Terror Abroad," lists Qatanani as a Hamas supporter.
July 27, 2012 update: Shmuley Boteach, who is running against Cong. Bill Pascrell, Qatanani's political protector, has released copious information on Qatanani's views.
July 29, 2012 update: Christie invited Qatanani to his July 24 iftar dinner at the Governor's Mansion in Princeton and again came out in his support, as can be watched on YouTube: "In all my interactions with the imam, he has attempted to be a force for good in his community, in our state with law enforcement, with those of us who have gotten to know him for the years."
Not only did Christie stand by his terrorist but with his usual charm, he attacked those few of us who have criticized him for running with Islamists: "You'll all be fascinated to learn that in many publications around the country, I'm called an Islamist." Why say something patently absurd like this, as (1) it's just a very few publications and (2) none of us think he's a Muslim, much less an Islamist? Because Christie's immaturity means he cannot help himself.
He went on: "These are the kind of red herrings that people put up who are bigots, who want to judge people based upon their religious beliefs, want to judge people with a broad brush." Okay, so now we are not only "crazies" but also "bigots." Just you wait, Chris Christie, your appeasement, inaccuracy, and vulgarity will catch up with you.
Aug. 10, 2012 update: A snapshot of Christie at the iftar, posing with a Koran (cropped from a picture provided by Muslim Journal Online).
Sep. 20, 2012 update: Mohammad "Force for Good" Qatanani, told TheBlaze that criticism of Islam poses a national security threat and the Department of Homeland Security should investigate those who do so.
Oct. 31, 2012 update: Another reason, even better than the Islamist one, why Christie will never be president. As the Politico headline put it, "Obama and Christie: A Sandy love story," where Sandy is the storm that did great damage throughout the northeastern United States and especially New Jersey, where Christie is the governor. And today is just six days before the presidential election.
Nov. 1, 2012 update: Here is Rush Limbaugh on Christie's performance: "Obama's making these phone calls, looking for somebody to play the role of a Greek column today, and he found Gov. Christie to do it. Christie's the only Republican not just praising Obama."
Nov. 3, 2012 update: In an exclusive, Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report that "Christie was Mitt's first choice for VP" but he did not get the nod for a variety of factors – his being late for events, "too much about himself," and this:
Comment: This account does not mention Christie's being soft on Islamism, but it does obliquely point to the tirade against those who disagree with him on that issue.
Nov. 7, 2012 update: Romney lost, another reason why Christie will never be president, at least not as the Republican nominee.
Nov. 15, 2012 update: Ryan Mauro reports today the latest outrage: "Four Islamists on Gov. Christie's Muslim Outreach Committee." Jeffrey Chiesa, the attorney general of New Jersey and a Christie appointee, set up the panel. The four Islamist committee members are:
June 9, 2013 update: The death of incumbent U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has given Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, the chance to appoint an interim senator. And who should he choose for the position but Jeffrey Chiesa, who led his outreach to Islamists. Ryan Mauro builds on his detailed analysis of November 2012 at "Gov. Christie Appoints Islamist-Friendly AG to Be New Senator."
July 15, 2013 update: Christie and his wife Mary Pat Foster have benefited from his pro-Islamist stance, what with the embassy of the United Arab Emirates announcing a $4.5 million donation to a fund founded by Foster to repair and enhance technology infrastructure at public schools affected by Storm Sandy in late 2012.
Aug. 7, 2013 update: Rasmussen Reports finds that 31 percent of Republicans say Chris Christie is their least favorite presidential candidate, making him far and away the most unpopular potential GOP White House hopeful. In contrast, the second most unpopular is Marco Rubio, with just 5 percent negative.
On the other hand, Christie is also the candidate with the highest positives, 21 percent, coming in ahead of Rubio, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul.
Aug. 16, 2013 update: I generally like conservatives and try to follow the maxim of "no enemies on the right" but there's something about Christie that rubs me the wrong way. Actually, lots of things. Here's the latest – his anti-intellectual rant and football-coach mindset expressed behind closed doors in Boston and surreptitiously recorded:
Comment: If the title of this blog is wrong and Christie does become the Republican nominee in 2016, I would find it difficult, perhaps insurmountably so, to vote for him. Aug. 23, 2013 update: In a fine editorial riposte to Christie's know-nothing statement, the Boston Globe writes today:
Sep. 10, 2013 update: In a statement about a new regulation that requires outside law enforcement agencies to notify county prosecutors before conducting surveillance operations in New Jersey, Christie said: "As a former U.S. attorney appointed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I strongly believe we need to do everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks on our country and keep our people safe. I also believe we must protect and maintain civil liberties, especially those of the citizens in New Jersey's Muslim community."
Comment: There he goes again, pandering and insinuating, with this gratuitous emphasis on maintaining civil liberties for "the citizens in New Jersey's Muslim community."
Sep. 17, 2013 update: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) produced a 149-page document today, Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States, 2011-2012 that mostly criticizes anyone who does not like CAIR (including myself) but also has a chapter titled "Best List Inductees" that praises those who "deserve recognition for their outstanding contributions to pushing back against Islamophobic trends in 2011 and 2012. … those listed below do deserve particular credit for their contributions to American pluralism."
And guess who is the only Republican in this hall of shame list? Chris Christie, of course.
Jan. 8, 2014 update: The same intemperate and injudicious qualities that prompted Christie to support Islamists and attack we who oppose them have now flared up in the George Washington Bridge scandal, in which Christie's aides if not he personally ordered the closure of some lanes of the very busy bridge from New Jersey to New York City in retaliation against a local Democratic mayor who refused to endorse his re-election. Christie has denied personal involvement in the scandal; we shall see if that is true. Most peculiar of all is that Christie had no need whatsoever for the mayor's endorsement. As I say, he will never be elected president. Put differently, the same bullying qualities that inspired Christie to call we critics nasty names has led to this predicament.
Jan. 9, 2014 update: Christie averred today "I am not a bully," which ranks up there with Richard Nixon's "I'm not a crook" and John Kerry's "I don't think we're stupid." Eight videos of him "yelling, name-calling, and belittling people" establish that, to the contrary, he is very much a bully.
Jan. 10, 2014 update: David Horsey, writing in the Los Angeles Times, observes:
Mar. 30, 2014 update: Christie responded to a question at the Republican Jewish Coalition yesterday by doubling down on his appointment of Sohail Mohammed and again insulting we who are concerned about that appointment:
Apr. 1, 2014 update: Richard Miniter looks closely at the governor's encounter with Morton Klein at "Did Chris Christie "bully" Sheldon Adelson's friend?"
Apr. 3, 2014 update: I did some original reporting to delve into something else the governor said at the RJC meeting in "Chris Christie and the 'Occupied Territories' Incident."
Reader comments (103) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes