CBS’s Norah O’Donnell Demands Chris Christie Denounce Trump

During an interview on Thursday’s CBS This Morning, Norah O’Donnell repeatedly questioned New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over the Republican Party’s supposed unwillingness to condemn GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. 

The CBS anchor lectured Christie that “[y]ou certainly don't agree with Donald Trump on a number of issues, I assume...So why has there been a reluctance by so many of the other candidates to take on Donald Trump.”

After the New Jersey Governor stressed that he could only “speak for myself” he rejected the media’s preoccupation with Trump:

It's not my business to be sitting here even though here we are sitting here this morning for 3 or 4 minutes already and all we're doing is asking about Donald Trump. I'm not going engage in that. There's no purpose to it. 

Despite Christie’s refusal to discuss Trump, O’Donnell continued to grill the Republican candidate over Trump and why he won’t forcefully reject him: 

But governor, you have been chairman of the Republican Governors Association...You helped more Republicans get elected. You care about the party...So if you feel that someone in your party is misrepresenting the views of your party, why wouldn't you say so forcefully? 

For his part, Christie dismissed the notion that Trump was the face of the party months before any primary voting had even occurred: 

Because there's no one particular person that represents on that stage the party right now. Norah, that's what the process is all about...And as this process continues, people are going to emerge as the leaders of our party. So let's not anoint anybody as the leader of our party when we're 5 1/2 months away from anybody even voting yet.

Earlier in the segment, fill-in host Anthony Mason tried to downplay Christie’s 2016 chances and even suggested that his candidacy might not last much longer: 

Governor, you’ve seen the new Quinnipiac poll, I’m sure. It says you have of 4% support among Republicans. What's going to keep you in this race at that level?...But at 4% governor, forgive me, but at 4% given how crowded this field is how long can you stay in?

Christie refused to accept Mason’s dire assessment of his 2016 candidacy and stressed that polling this far out was meaningless: 

Here's the thing. Here's the thing, and if I was at 7% this morning you'd be saying I was in third place and the margin of error in this poll is 4 points. So let's get serious, okay? These polls don't mean anything right now.

See relevant transcript below. 

CBS This Morning 

August 27, 2015

ANTHONY MASON: Governor, you’ve seen the new Quinnipiac poll, I’m sure. It says you have of 4% support among Republicans. What's going to keep you in this race at that level?

CHRISTIE: The people of the country, that’s what’s going to keep me in the race and to continue to care about the issues that bother them. This country is incredibly frustrated. Incredibly frustrated and angry with a government that's been completely inept and that has broken its promise to it. And I'm going to continue to speak to that because in New Jersey I dealt with exactly the same thing. I came into a government that had broken its promises and broken its word and we're going to get out there and were going to work really hard and we’re going to make this happen. 

MASON: But at 4% governor, forgive me, but at 4% given how crowded this field is how long can you stay in?

CHRISTIE: There's no reason for me to forgive you at all for that question. The fact is- 

NORAH O’DONNELL: He's just polite. He’s a polite reporter. 

CHRISTIE: Here's the thing. Here's the thing, and if I was at 7% this morning you'd be saying I was in third place and the margin of error in this poll is 4 points. So let's get serious, okay? These polls don't mean anything right now. What matters is what matters to the American people. They're frustrated by a president who has permitted lawlessness in this country and now they have the leading Democratic candidate who believes the law doesn't apply to her.

The fact is she shouldn't be running for president at all. She’s given up her right to run for president when she’s refused to answer questions to be held accountable by the people in this country. And that's never happened with me. I answer every question directly and that's what the American people are going to reward ultimately because I’m being held accountable for what I do as governor and being accountable for everything that I say in this race. 

--

O’DONNELL: You certainly don't agree with Donald Trump on a number of issues, I assume. 

CHRISTIE: Of course, listen—

O’DONNELL: So why has there been a reluctance by so many of the other candidates to take on Donald Trump.

CHRISTIE: Listen. For me -- I can only speak for myself. It's my job to introduce myself, my ideas, my programs, my vision of leadership to the American people. It's not my business to be sitting here even though here we are sitting here this morning for 3 or 4 minutes already and all we're doing is asking about Donald Trump. I'm not going engage in that. There's no purpose to it. 

O’DONNELL: But governor, you have been chairman of the Republican Governors Association. 

CHRISTIE: Yes. 

O’DONNELL: You helped more Republicans get elected. You care about the party. 

CHRISTIE: I do. 

O’DONNELL: I know you do. 

CHRISTIE: That's why I'm running for president because I care about my country. 

O’DONNELL: So if you feel that someone in your party is misrepresenting the views of your party, why wouldn't you say so forcefully?  

CHRISTIE: Because there's no one particular person that represents on that stage the party right now. Norah, that's what the process is all about. And as this process continues, we're in August, we are in August. And as this process continues, people are going to emerge as the leaders of our party. So let's not anoint anybody as the leader of our party when we're 5 1/2 months away from anybody even voting yet.

And so it's my job to make my case to the American people about the things I hear them being concerned about. That's why I’ve done more town halls in New Hampshire than any other candidate, any of them, it’s not even close. I’ve done 18 town hall meetings already in New Hampshire. And what I’m hearing from folks is they think the immigration system is out of control in this country, that they're worried about student debt and that they're scared to death they're going to be killed by a terrorist. Now, if we think that's a better position than we were in seven years, then it's not the America that I remember. Those are the things I'm going to focus on not talking about polls and Donald Trump. 

O’DONNELL: Are ad hominem attacks appropriate? Calling people bimbos, telling people to go back to some place?  

CHRISTIE: Listen. I think that question answers itself. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential CBS CBS This Morning Norah O'Donnell Anthony Mason Donald Trump Chris Christie

Sponsored Links