Christie helped Trump prep for first presidential debate, but said result was ‘hotter’ than expected

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was one of the people who helped prep President Donald Trump for for his first debate against Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

So naturally, when Christie appeared on a panel Tuesday night on ABC after the often chaotic, frequently combative debate was finished, he was asked directly: Is that the debate they prepared for?

“No,” Christie, now a paid political analyst on ABC, responded.

“It was too hot,” he said about Trump, a fellow Republican and longtime friend. “You come in and decide you want to be aggressive, and I think it was the right thing to be aggressive. But that was too hot.”

“I think that the advice was for the president to be aggressive, but it was hotter than it was planned to be,” Christie added.

“Hot” may be an understatement. Trump and Biden repeatedly talked over each other, which the president often pounding the former vice president with questions and insults mid-answer. Biden, meanwhile, told Trump to “shut up" and called him a “clown" more than once. Much of the evening featured moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News trying in vain to regain control of the whole affair.

Christie said when it comes to Trump, what happened was: “With all that heat ... you lose the light.”

“That potentially can be fixed,” added Christie, a fellow Republican. “Maybe, maybe not. We’ll have to see on the Trump side. ... Potentially you can turn that heat down a little bit.”

But the former governor had even harsher words for Biden, saying the former V.P. did not deliver a “reassuring performance” to the American people and that he’d be “very concerned his problems can’t be fixed."

“He looked very shaky at many, many times at this debate,” Christie said. “His numbers were way off. He would wander off in mid-sentence. And he used lots of name-calling and insulting language. That’s not rising above it."

“If you’re not up to being able to stand up there for 90 minutes and be consistently coherent, people are gonna wonder whether you’ll be able to do that when you’re sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office," the ex-governor added.

Christie also weighed in on a controversial moment, when Wallace asked Trump if he would denounce white supremacists.

“I’m willing to do that, but I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not from the right wing,” Trump said. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

When Wallace pressed him again, Trump asked: “What do you want to call them? Give me a name."

Biden mentioned the Proud Boys, a far-right group that openly believes white men are under siege. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled them a hate group.

“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by,” Trump said. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”

Christie defended Trump, saying the president did say he was willing to denounce white supremacists and that Trump was “being sarcastic" when he asked Wallace to tell him what he wanted to hear.

“Because I know he feels frustrated,” the former governor said. “He feels like he has said a number of times that he’s denounced white supremacists and he denounces neo-Nazis. And I think that was him saying to Wallace: Tell me exactly what you want me to say so I can put this to rest.”

Matt Katz, a radio reporter for WNYC in New York City who once covered Christie for the Philadelphia Inquirer and wrote a book on the politician, had wondered during the debate during Twitter how Christie would react to Trump’s comments on white supremacy considering his own record.

Christie is a longtime friend and ally of Trump. After dropping out of the 2016 race for the Republican presidential nomination, Christie helped Trump with debate prep against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump praised the ex-governor’s help, saying he was “harder to debate than Hillary."

This week, Christie said he was helping Trump with debate prep again, this time for the first showdown with Biden.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-09-30 03:21:28 -0700