Transcript: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on

The following is a transcript of an interview with 2024 Republican presidential hopeful former New Jersey Chris Christie that aired on Dec. 17, 2023.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to one of the Republican candidates for President, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He joins me this morning from Mendham, New Jersey. Good morning to you, sir.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know you say you don’t believe people tell the truth to pollsters. But you have stakes a lot in the state of New Hampshire. You’re coming in fourth in our poll, and the governor of that state just endorsed your rival, Nikki Haley, do you still see a path to victory there? 

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Absolutely. Look, when you look at the poll you just talked about, it has fewer than half of the people, it would need to even qualify to be a poll onto the RNC polling criteria. And as a margin of error of over 6%. I mean, it’s kind of just a foolish poll, with all due respect. And the fact is that in the end, look, Governor Haley got an endorsement this week that got her a lot of free media publicity, but it doesn’t change one simple fact. She won’t answer questions about Donald Trump. In fact, you know, she said just this week that he’s fit to be president. This is a guy who last night in New Hampshire, used Vladimir Putin as a character witness for the decaying Democracy in America. A Vladimir Putin is an expert in democracy and someone who says that is fit to be President United State? It’s- it’s ridiculous. And so, you know, we just continue to move forward because we know that voters are listening to the real things that are being said. And when they do, we’ll do very well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay, so New Hampshire won’t be the defining moment for whether you continue or not in this race?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: New Hampshire will be an important moment, Margaret, there’s no doubt. but won’t be- what won’t be a defining moment. Is your poll of 450 people six weeks before the primary- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay, Okay. It’s not just our poll, though. I mean, the National Review, conservative leaning-


MARGARET BRENNAN: No, conservative leaning National Review has a piece saying that even if Chris Christie pulled off an upset in New Hampshire, there’d be nowhere else for him to go. A hypothetical Christie win would rely heavily on support from Independents and Democrats in the Open New Hampshire primary, those conditions would be impossible to replicate elsewhere. If he’s as committed to stopping Trump, as he says it’s time for him to retire to his tent. What do you have to say to them?

CHRIS CHRISTIE:  Well, they’re ju- what I have to say to them is they should try to get the facts right. First of all, Democrats can’t vote in the Republican Primary in New Hampshire. So they’re wrong about that-

MARGARET BRENNAN: Only Independents can.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Only independents and Republicans. Yeah, well, they- you read me the quote, Margaret, how about you get accurate? Democrats, you said reading their quote, can vote, they cannot vote in the New Hampshire primary. Secondly, in Michigan, the very same conditions exist five weeks from the New Hampshire primary, which is that Republicans and Independents can vote in the Michigan primary. So the fact that they say it can’t repeat- be repeated anywhere, it will be repeated two- two elections away from New Hampshire, South Carolina happens in between. And so look, the National Review was campaigning for Ron DeSantis, until they concluded that he couldn’t win. Now they’re campaigning for Nikki Haley. And when they conclude that she can’t win either, then they’ll move on to somebody else. I don’t spend any time worrying about the editors at the National Review.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Noted. So you’ve said though, for Nikki Haley, who we have not just CBS, other polls have said she is surging in the state of New Hampshire. You’ve said she’s not a fundamentally serious candidate-

CHRIS CHRISTIE: It’s not true. I’m not gonna stop you. Hold on. I’m gonna stop you right there because in the last two polls that have come out, Nikki Haley was at 13 or 14%. And I was at 10, or 11. Yeah. So I don’t understand where you talk about surging, Margaret. I know that that’s the talking points up on the teleprompter, but it’s not surging.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m not looking at a teleprompter sir, I’m looking at your face. 


CHRIS CHRISTIE: The only poll that shows any surging is yours. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re up two points from our last poll in September, you said you don’t trust any polls. You just cited some. So there are some you like, but let me read you what you have said about Nikki Haley

CHRIS CHRISTIE: No, no, no, no.


CHRIS CHRISTIE: Margaret. I’m countering what you say, Margaret. I’m countering what you say about other polls showing surges, which they do not. And so if you want to cite them, at least cite them correctly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. You said Nikki Haley’s not a fundamentally serious candidate when she said, as you just said earlier on our program that Trump is fit to lead. You said you wish that she cared more about the truth and things she said about global trade, for example, you say shows she doesn’t even understand what she’s talking about. Are you ruling out ever working with Nikki Haley in the future to defeat Donald Trump?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: I’m working on defeating Donald Trump, and I’m the only one in the race who is working out defeating Donald Trump. Once she hasn’t ruled out being his vice president, I don’t think you could take her as a serious contender against him. Rod DeSantis and I have both ruled out accepting the vice presidency from Donald Trump. Nikki Haley has not. That’s why she’s not saying strong things against Donald Trump. Why she’s saying he’s fit to be president of the United States. I mean, the fact that if you watch that speech last night, where he says that immigrants from Asia, Africa and South America are poisoning the blood of America, I don’t know how you could take someone like that and say that they’re fit to be president of the United States. 

MARGRAET BRENNAN: Are you surprised– 

CHRIS CHRISTIE: this is language and things that are being said–


CHRIS CHRISTIE: That is just wrong. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are clearly distancing yourself from that sentiment? Are you surprised that other Republican candidates and sitting Republican elected officials have not distanced themselves from saying that immigrants are poisoning the blood of this country?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Yes, I am surprised about that. And, and, and look, at the end of the day, you know, these folks are more concerned about their primary challenges in their House seats than they’re concerned about who’s going to be the president of the United States and whether or not they’re fit. And when you’re a candidate for president of the United States, and someone’s, you know, you know, the incumbent, essentially, Donald Trump having won the nomination the last two times, you need to speak directly about what you think is their fitness. I’m going to take Nikki Haley’s word at it. She says she believes he’s fit to be president. If you believe someone who says those kinds of things and is under four criminal indictments is fit to be president, then you can agree with her. I don’t. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Well, Nikki Haley, I want to ask you about how some of your opponents who have stood on that debate stage alongside you have talked about her. You did seem to come to Nikki Haley’s defense after the last debate when Vivek Ramaswamy went straight at her. You said you think he personally has a woman problem. Do you think your party has a woman problem? Do you think that a woman could be the lead on a Republican ticket?

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Sure, I think a woman could be lead on the Republican ticket. And I don’t think the party has a woman problem. I think Vivek has a woman problem. And I defended Nikki Haley at that debate. Because when someone on the stage like Vivek, treats someone who is as you know, smart and accomplished as Nikki is, and has been my friend for 13 years, you know, and he says that compares her intellect to that of his three year old son. The way I was raised, Margaret, is you stand up and you defend someone who you do respect, being treated with disrespect by someone else. And that’s exactly what I did. I’d do it again. And I think it’s the right thing to do. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Chris Christie, we have to leave it there for today. Thanks for joining us.

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