Real leaders denounce Trump's Muslim ban. Gov. Christie is mute | Editorial

You'd assume anyone with executive function would cringe at a president blind to consequences, or, as James Mattis put it in August, one who "has lost faith in reason."

You'd think a man who has strained deltoids slapping his own back for alleged leadership would be outraged to see American values compromised and American credibility undermined.

Instead, there was nothing but tin-eared indifference. He didn't disagree with the order, Christie said Tuesday in Newark, "but because it was done so inartfully and ineffectively, it allowed those who oppose his perspective on this to mischaracterize what the order really said.

Just 13 months ago, he called any Muslim ban "ridiculous. . . .the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they're talking about." It was days later when he declared that "We can't be categorizing people just by their religion" and said New Jersey needs to value Muslims "as an asset."

Now, we get a political dodge, and an obvious plug about how "the president deserves to be served better."

In the aftermath of an order based on ignorance and cruelty for its own sake - and with echoes of a slaughter in Quebec City gripping our collective soul - Christie only wants to critique the new administration's stagecraft.

A question Jim Sues of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of New Jersey asked Tuesday morning still applies: "Where is our governor on this issue?"

"The president's order is blatantly unconstitutional, it codifies a religious test, and our governor is silent," Sues said. "Perhaps his political career is as dependent on fear mongering and National Security theater as that of the president."

It is perplexing, given what may soon follow for people, many of them children, facing persecution and despair.

Some may never see their families again, not even valid visa holders and legal residents, because some politicians won't risk blowing a cabinet post in two years.

Others fear Trump's endgame - being ripped away from families and schools and communities - because the governor they entrusted to protect them from injustice remained silent.

We needed someone to reaffirm the trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities, reject party hackery, and assert that New Jersey won't be intimidated by threats to its federal funding - yet the leader of the country's second-largest Muslim population will not join 16 other states that condemn Trump's order.

The suspension of the refugee program will have a profound impact on some New Jerseyans. Lives will change, some will be ruined. Real leaders would recognize this as a greater moral imperative than the Mets' pitching rotation.

Some Republicans have landed on a safe political square, though most use weasel words like "hastily implemented" as their harshest criticism. Christie has followed that glib script.

It's a shame he isn't using his voice and platform as he did 13 months ago. Our values are under attack, and the straight talker is sitting this one out.

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