Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump for president sets up a stark contrast — with the previous incarnation Chris Christie, who supported outreach to New Jersey’s Muslim communities, immigrant groups, and other minorities.
By endorsing a candidate who wants to build a giant wall (and make Mexico pay for it!) and ban Muslims from entering the country, has Christie abandoned his principles of pluralism and tolerance — or were these principles just an opportunistic pose to begin with, to try to corner the market on people who like that sort of thing?
For years, Christie was a Republican who said his party, and political leaders in general, had to reach out to America’s Muslim communities and build trusting relationships.
And as the conservative Washington Examiner points out, Christie once slammed Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim entry into the United States:
“You do not need to be banning Muslims from the country,” Christie said shortly after. “That’s, in my view, that’s a ridiculous position and one that won’t even be productive.”
“There’s no question in my mind,” he said, when asked if Trump’s plan was a violation of the First Amendment. “But 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.
Perhaps the single best example of Christie speaking against bigotry was in July of 2011, when he fired back at critics who opposed his appointment of attorney Sohail Mohammed to a state judgeship. “Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed,” Christie declared at a press conference (in remarks posted onto Christie’s official YouTube account), praising Mohammed as a lawyer and a member of the community.
He said that Mohammad had “set up for me, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI, personally, dozens of meetings with Muslim American leaders across this state to convince them that Federal law enforcement could be trusted in the aftermath of September 11th, and that they should be working with us to provide information and leads to help to combat potential terrorist attacks in our state.”
When a reporter asked Christie about accusations that Mohammed’s judicial role could end up furthering Sharia law, Christie snapped back: “This Sharia law business is crap. It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”
Let’s just say it’s a long way from there, to endorsing Donald Trump for president of the United States.