Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump launched an all-out attack against Gov. Chris Christie (R) during a Monday-night rally.
Christie called the proposal unconstitutional during an interview with conservative talk-show host Michael Medved.
“There are folks in this race who don’t care about what the law says because they’re used to being able to just fire people indiscriminately on television. So, they don’t have to worry about laws say or not say,” Christie said, according to a transcript provided by his campaign.
“And you do not need to be banning Muslims from the country,” Christie added. “In my view, that’s a ridiculous position and one that won’t even be productive.”
Trump suggested that Christie attacked him because the governor is “not doing well in the polls.” (Christie has actually had a slight surge in New Hampshire in recent days.)
“I’ve been nice to Christie, but he really hit me today,” Trump said, speaking at a National Pearl Harbour Remembrance Day campaign rally in South Carolina. “He really hit me on the whole thing with we have to stop the Muslims until we find out what’s going on. … So Chris, who’s a friend of mine, he hit me hard. And I said, ‘I’ve got to hit him at least once.'”
Trump joked that he “won’t do this a lot,” and proceeded to accuse Christie of being complicit in the so-called Bridgegate scandal. Some of Christie’s aides and appointees were accused of deliberately creating debilitating traffic around the base of the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as a petty act of political retribution.
Christie, who has not been accused of any crime related to the incident, denies any knowledge of the lane-closure plot and touts the fact that he fired the staffers once he became aware. But Trump said he was very confident that Christie was involved.
“Look, here’s the story: The George Washington Bridge, he knew about it. Hey, how do you have breakfast with people every day of your lives. They’re closing up the largest bridge in the world,” Trump said. “They never said, ‘Hey boss, we’re closing up the George Washington Bridge tonight.’ No, they never said that. They’re talking about the weather, right? So he knew about it. Totally knew about it.”
Trump added, “I would say that there’s less than 1% chance [Christie’s telling the truth]. It could be. But I doubt it. He knew about it.”
The Republican businessman wasn’t done there. Trump proceeded to attack Christie’s record on taxes and hit the governor for New Jersey’s credit downgrades.
“No. 2, nine downgrades of the state. Nine downgrades. It’s a disaster. I have property over there, the taxes are through [the roof.] I’ll use an expression: coming out of my ears, OK? Tremendous taxes over there,” Trump continued.
Trump also criticised Christie for his camaraderie with President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey in 2012.
“You had Christie so friendly with President Obama during the flood,” Trump recalled. “I actually called, I said, ‘Let me ask you, is he going to vote for Obama?’ I thought he was going to vote for Obama. I don’t know, I think he possibly did.”
Trump said if he were 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, he would have never spoken to Christie again after the friendly appearance with Obama in the storm’s aftermath.
Business Insider reached out to Christie’s campaign about Trump’s criticism and will update this post if we hear back.
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