Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, has attributed the recent spike in antisemitism and Islamophobia across the United States to the rhetoric of his once-ally, Donald Trump. Christie’s comments come amidst a growing concern over the rise in hate crimes in the country.
Christie vocalizes his concerns
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Christie expressed his concerns about Trump’s influence on national attitudes.
“When you show intolerance towards everyone, which is what he does, you give permission as a leader for others to have their intolerance come out,” he said. Christie further pointed out that this trend of emboldening hatefulness is not limited to Trump but extends to university professors on elite campuses.
Contextualizing Trump’s Family and Policies
Despite Trump’s familial connections to Judaism—his son-in-law Jared Kushner is Jewish, and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism—Christie highlighted the broader impact of Trump’s language.
During his presidency, Trump was known for his staunch support of Israel, including recognizing Jerusalem as the capital and brokering the Abraham Accords.
Rise of Antisemitic Incidents
The situation in Israel following the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas has coincided with an increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S., especially on college campuses.
Notable examples include Jewish students at Cooper Union reportedly hiding during pro-Palestinian protests and the projection of a controversial slogan at George Washington University.
Islamophobic Attacks and their Implications
Concurrently, there has been an alarming rise in Islamophobic attacks, including the reported hate crime murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian boy in Chicago. These incidents underscore the broader issue of rising religious intolerance and hate crimes in the United States.
At 61, Christie positions himself as a critical contender in the 2024 GOP presidential race, ready to confront and counter Trump’s influence.
He sees himself among the major contenders, which he lists as Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, himself, and Nikki Haley while noting the absence of entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who is polling higher than him nationally.
Campaign Focus and Optimism
Christie is focusing his campaign efforts on New Hampshire, where he currently stands in third place behind Trump and Haley. Drawing parallels with the late Sen. John McCain’s campaign in 2008, Christie remains optimistic about his chances.
His campaign has confirmed his qualification for the upcoming fourth GOP debate.
Despite his current standing, Christie is confident about his participation in the race. “I will be in this race through to the convention,” he stated, indicating his commitment to a long-term campaign strategy.