New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie explained his tendency to dodge questions about controversial national issues on Wednesday. He also dismissed his “immature” potential competitors in the 2016 Republican presidential race who have rushed to declare their positions.
“I’m not going to sit here and pretend to have opinions about things that will be ill-informed and just go and follow, ‘Well I think I want to be with those folks. What do they think? I think I’m going to be with them,'” he said during a CNBC interview with John Harwood. “If I run for president, you can be sure that I’ll have an opinion.”
Harwood tried to push Christie about whether he is really ignorant about national policy issues, but Christie insisted that was the case.
“Believe me, you can’t imagine how ill-informed I am,” Christie said to laughs. “No, the fact is if and when there’s a time that comes that I need to be telling people in this country what my view is on those issues, I will. But until that time I think it’s quite frankly immature to be expressing a lot of those opinions just because I’m sitting up here in front of this room and you asked.”
Christie, who built his political brand on straight-talk and blunt answers to questions, has raised eyebrows across the country by repeatedly refusing to address major controversies when asked. Just last week, Christie reportedly declined to answer media inquiries about infrastructure spending, the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, whether the United States should intervene militarily against Hamas, and whether undocumented immigrants should be granted a pathway to citizenship. Earlier in July, Christie claimed he had no opinion on the Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” ruling that many of his potential Republican rivals immediately cheered.
During the CNBC interview, Christie further refused to offer his opinion on the Export-Import bank, a controversial federal institution designed to boost American companies’ competitiveness overseas that many grassroots conservatives are currently pushing to end.
“Well yeah,” Christie replied when asked if he was “ducking” the question, “because I’m the governor of New Jersey. I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on the Export-Import bank.”
Christie also noted that if he does run for president, answering these sorts of questions could come back to haunt him during the campaign.
“If I don’t think my answer is going to be smart and will stand the test of time, you can be damned sure that I’m not going to answer,” he added. “Because you’ll have this tape and you’ll use it.”
Watch the segment below.
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