Former New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie openly mocked former Republican President Donald Trump’s claim he had the power to declassify documents with his mind.
On Wednesday, Trump told Fox News personality Sean Hannity a President can declassify just by “thinking about it.”
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it.”
“You’re the President of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”
“In other words, when I left the White House, they were declassified.”
Trump’s remark came as he continues to face heavy scrutiny for absconding from the White House with classified and top secret documents the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later recovered after the Department of Justice secured a search warrant for his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Trump repeatedly denied he broke federal government policy regarding classified documents, saying he had the ability to declassify any and all documents and did so under a “standing order.” However, this defense was disputed by experts who noted a specific federal process must be adhered to before any information can be declassified.
These comments prompted Christie to openly bash the former President during a speech he gave at a business convention in upstate New York.
“We have a former President of the United States who [went] on national television last night and said ‘I declassified the documents thinking about it’.”
“Imagine all I could have accomplished if I only knew that I didn’t actually have to do it. I just had to think about it — this is a credible candidate for 2024.”
“There is a sector of our party, which cannot find themselves genetically unable to not defend Donald Trump.”
“This is a disaster. It’s bad for the country.”
Christie issued his pointed remarks just a few days after Trump mocked Christie’s weight in a widely-shared post on Truth Social.
The post came in response to Christie’s remark the FBI had “no choice” but to raid Mar-a-Lago because of Trump’s handling of classified documents.
Christie’s comments were highly criticized by conservatives.
u201cPresident Donald Trump did a great job for America. Chris Christie destroyed New Jersey. case closedu201d
— RTEXAS (@RTEXAS) 1663914402
u201cWhy doesnu2019t he just be honest and switch to the party he belongs to?u201d
— Chris N (@Chris N) 1663935669
u201cChristie is still salty he didn’t get picked for VPu201d
— Tim King-MAGA Republican-FJB (@Tim King-MAGA Republican-FJB) 1663907003
u201cWho didn’t know the Chris Christie-Donald Trump relationship would end up like this. I knew it from this moment. https://t.co/F1RGgQKncXu201d
— Karol Markowicz (@Karol Markowicz) 1663935470
Others also expressed their displeasure, noting Christie—previously a Trump sycophant—might backpedal.
u201cNext week Chris Christie will probably be groveling at #Trumpu2019s feet yet again once he gets slapped down by the boss. What a pathetic man. #GOP #ChrisChristieu201d
— Steve Brown (@Steve Brown) 1663943684
u201cChris Christie has put a political screw in his own career. His little bridge scandal, & his family use of a beach closed to the public pretty much let us all know what a fake, phony, fraud he actually is. He’s about as likeable as Lindsey Graham.u201d
— dogwhisperer (@dogwhisperer) 1663945464
u201cUnfortunately for America and his former supporter, Mr. Christie, Donald Trump was the same deranged imbecile when he became President in 2016.u201d
— Frank Malone (@Frank Malone) 1663929409
u201cI need to take a shower because I agree with Chris Christie.u201d
— ud83cuddfaud83cuddf2 u2615 LMu270cufe0fud83cudde8ud83cudde6 (@ud83cuddfaud83cuddf2 u2615 LMu270cufe0fud83cudde8ud83cudde6) 1663895845
Christie—who was part of Trump’s campaign and transition teams—has long fallen out of Trump’s good graces.
Earlier this year, he criticized Trump for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin even as the international community responded with outrage and issued sanctions in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Christie wrote an angry tweet decrying Trump for calling Putin’s move to invade Ukraine “genius” and “savvy” as the world watches Putin “unite the rest of the world against Russia in nearly an instant.”
Christie noted Putin can either choose to raze Ukraine and murder President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or retreat, which Christie acknowledged would be “humiliating.”
Neither choice is a net positive, Christie noted, nor are they the options one would expect to see made by an actually “genius” leader.