Chris Christie

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Current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie practiced law after receiving his JD from Seton Hall University Law School. While in private practice, Christie was a regular figure on Republican campaigns, including for Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. In 2002, President George W. Bush he appointed Christie as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, where Christie served until 2008. Christie won his bid for Governor in 2009 when he upset the sitting Governor. He announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination in June 2015 at his high school alma mater in New Jersey. 

On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what Chris Christie has said on the campaign trail.


Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy


U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 


U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties








Community Policing




Bigoted Speech


Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Key Advisors

  • Maria Comella: Senior Advisor. Comella is a longtime press aide for Christie and worked as Director of Communications on Christie for Governor. She has also worked as the Deputy Director of Communications on former New York Governor Rudy Giuliani’s 2007 presidential campaign and as the Deputy Director of Operations on former New York Governor George Pataki's (R-NY) 2002 re-election campaign.

  • Mike DuHaime: Senior Advisor. DuHaime has served as Christie’s Chief Political Strategist for years, orchestrating Christie’s 2009 and 2013 gubernatorial campaigns. He has also worked as a Regional Director for the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2004 and as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Republican Party. In 2005 DuHaime became the Political Director at the Republican National Committee.

Super PAC support: America Leads


The U.S. Role in the Middle East

“And quite frankly those Arab allies are suspicious of what American interests really are in the Middle East and what our motives truly are, and whether they can count on us for friendship. They look at what’s happened with the Iranian deal, they look at what’s happened with our public interaction with Israel, and in some of those  capitals, I think they’re wondering whether they can count on the American resolve any longer.” (November 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

"I support what President Bush did at that time, going into Afghanistan, hunting al Qaeda and its leaders, getting its sanctuary out of place, and making it as difficult around the world for them to move people and money. And then he went to prosecutors like us, and he said, never again. Don’t prosecute these people after the crime is committed. Intervene before the crime happens. I absolutely believe that what the president did at the time was right. And I am proud to have been one of the people on the stage who was part of making sure that what Governor Bush said before was the truth. America was safe for those seven years and Barack Obama has taken that safety away from us." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

"And I think the unrest you see in the Middle East is caused in some measure — not completely, but in some measure — by the fact that this president has not acted in a decisive, consistent way." (July 2014, National Governors Association)

“If we don't have a plan to stop Bashar al-Assad in Syria, or Iraq in Yemen, what's to stop governments lending support to proxy forces like Al Qaeda and ISIS?" (May 2015,

U.S. Response to ISIL

“I would hope that France invokes Article 5 [of the NATO alliance]. This is an attack. On one it’s an attack on all. We need to be really clear on this. It seems like Mrs. Clinton won’t use the term radical Islamic terrorism because she thinks somehow this will be insulting to the rest of the Muslim world. I think it’s clarifying. See, if you say you’re going to war with radical Islamic terrorism then by definition you’re not going to war with the rest of Islam.” (November 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

“You see the President taking bows, saying he has terrorism on the run, yet ISIS is beheading people and burning foreign soldiers alive. Terrorism has been emboldened by the lack of leadership from Washington.” (February 2015, Salon.)


"The fact of the matter is we’re not going to have peace – we are not going to have peace in Syria. We’re not going to be able to rebuild it unless we put a no-fly zone there, make it safe for those folks so we don’t have to be talking about Syrian refugees anymore. The Syrians should stay in Syria. They shouldn’t be going to Europe. And here’s the last piece, you’re not going to have peace in Syria with Assad in charge. You’re simply not.” (New York Times, 1/15/16)

“I think that Assad himself is one of the great causants of ISIS.” (November 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

“I urge you to halt your plans to accept more Syrian refugees in the United States. I have no doubt that ISIS will try to exploit American humanitarianism to expose Americans to similar deadly risk.” (November 2015, Letter to President Obama)

After being asked if he would bring in Syrian refugee orphans, Christie said, "I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in... I don't think orphans under five should be admitted into the United States at this point... They have no family here; how are we going to care for these folks?" (November 2015, Hugh Hewitt Show)

"That young child [Aylan Kurdi] today is a symbol for this country’s inaction and this president’s deceit. This president has allowed these folks to be slaughtered. I frankly can't imagine as president of the United States how you could permit this to happen on this scale, and now we're seeing those results....Listen, I think we have to work in coordination with our allies around the world. Certainly, right now, it seems like some of our allies in Europe are being overrun. So I hope, I pray, that Secretary Kerry is taking time off from selling his loser Iran deal to talk to our folks in Europe to see how we could coordinate this and make it right. But those people are in desperate shape. And nobody wants a life where you're running from your home country and just looking for a place to be safe." (September 2015, New Hampshire campaign event)


“And as we move towards dealing with foreign aid, I don't disagree with Senator Paul's position that we shouldn't be funding our enemies. But I absolutely believe that Israel is a priority to be able to fund and keep them strong and safe after eight years of this administration.” (August 2015, Fox GOP Debate)

"Our commitment to Israel must be absolute. Israel is a beacon of freedom in a sea of autocracy and our friendship should be unshakeable. Over the last few years this administration has taken our Israeli partners for granted and it is shameful how the president has treated them. Israel and its people must be supported by the United States and the American president - its existence and its security is non-negotiable, and the Iranians and others who think otherwise must be reminded by America of that simple fact. Over the last few years this administration has taken our Israeli partners for granted and it is shameful how the president has treated them." (May 2015, New Hampshire campaign event)

“Israel is not sure that they have America's full support like they used to. And that's a real failure of this presidency, in my view.” (July 2014, National Governors Association)


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Iran Nuclear Deal 

"The deal as structured will lead to a nuclear Iran and, then, a nuclearized Middle East." (May 2015, CNN)

“I’m not one of those guys who’s going to say to you, ‘on Day One I will abrogate the agreement. If I’m saddled with the deal as president, then on the first day I’ll be saying to my national security advisor, to my Secretary of State and to my head of national intelligence: give me all the information I need to let me know all the options I have to try to put this genie back in the bottle, and then we’ll make a decision.” (July 2015, TIME)

“Walk away from the table. It is the best way to handle this. Increase the sanctions, Congress wants to do it. Unite the allies and move forward. They'll come back to the table the same way they did before, but they will come back knowing that America will not sign a bad deal for the U.S. and the rest of the world.” (July 2015, CBS This Morning)

Voting Rights

Before he vetoed a bill that would make it easier for people to vote in New Jersey, Christie said, "Is it really too much to ask to ask somebody to fill out a form to execute their right to vote? Is it really so much to ask people that if they’re in the state that they show up on Election Day and vote? The polls are open from six in the morning 'til eight in the evening. There’s much more politics behind this than there is democracy.” (November 2015, Ask the Governor with Chris Christie)

"In New Jersey, we have early voting that are [sic] available to people. I don't want to expand it and increase the opportunities for fraud, maybe that's what Mrs. Clinton wants to do — I don't know." (June 2015,

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

“Well, because you can do it without profiling, Megyn, when you do it on the facts. What those facts knew was that these folks had weapons. They knew that they were talking about trying to take our country and attack it. That’s not profiling, that’s law enforcement…It’s not for them [citizens] to make those decisions about whether or not something is legal or illegal, or profiling or not. You see something that’s suspicious, you call law enforcement and let law enforcement make those decisions. That’s what should be done. That can be done. That can be done without profiling people. What that is, is just common sense.” (New York Times, 1/28/16)

“Concerning the fight on terrorism, there are a lot of similarities [to the W. Bush administration], yes. I think that all of the tools we need to have should be made available to us, and that we have to make sure that we police those who use the tools.” (November 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

Regarding the government’s alleged violations of civil liberties in combatting terrorism, “You can’t enjoy civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.” (May 2015, The Hill)

“Judges should be able to look at defendants’ criminal history, determine whether they pose a potential danger to other individuals — witnesses or innocent citizens on the streets — and then decide whether bail makes sense.” (April 2015, Brennan Center

“I hope other states can build on New Jersey’s experience, ushering in bail reform to keep violent offenders off the streets and give nonviolent offenders a chance to reclaim their lives. These changes will ensure that decisions about whether to detain someone pretrial are made based on real public safety threats and not on whether a defendant is rich or poor.” (April 2015, Brennan Center)

"As a former U.S. Attorney appointed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I strongly believe we need to do everything in our power to prevent terrorist attacks on our country and keep our people safe," Christie said. "I also believe we must protect and maintain civil liberties, especially those of the citizens in New Jersey's Muslim community." (September 2013, USA Today


"Now, I spent seven years of my life in the immediate aftermath of September 11th doing this work, working with the Patriot Act, working with our law enforcement, working with the surveillance community to make sure that we keep America safe. What we need to do, Wolf, is restore those tools that have been taken away by the president and others, restore those tools to the NSA and to our entire surveillance and law enforcement community." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

"At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane. Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them. We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in." (August 2015, New Hampshire speech)

Referencing Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KT) opposition to NSA spying programs “As we face a heightened warning on this Fourth of July weekend, what the American people need to know is that Senator Paul’s conduct has made them weaker and more vulnerable to attack.” (July 2015, Business Insider)

"The next attack that comes, the one that kills thousands of Americans as a result, people are gonna be looking back at these people who had an intellectual debate and wondering whether or not they [neglected] our first job, to protect the people we serve.” (May 2015, Aspen Institute panel)

"When Edward Snowden revealed our intelligence secrets to the world in 2013, civil liberties extremists seized that moment to advance their own narrow agenda. They want you to think that there's a government spook listening in every time you pick up the phone or Skype with your grandkids. They want you to think of our intelligence community as the bad guys, straight out of 'The Bourne Identity' or a Hollywood thriller, and they want you to think that if we weakened our capabilities, the rest of the world would love us more. Let me be clear: All these fears are baloney." (May 2015, Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

"I've used all the tools we had to go after terror. I've used the Patriot Act myself and personally reviewed the applications. I've prosecuted terrorists, and sent terrorists to jail. And I've seen what happens when our intelligence community, legal system and law enforcement work together. We can use information to save lives." (May 2015, Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

"The vast majority of Americans aren't worried about the government listening in on them, because it hasn't happened. But they are worried about what happens if we don't catch the bad people who want to harm our country." (May 2015, Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

Community Policing

“…a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States, that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars; that they’re afraid to enforce the law. And when the president of the United States gets out to speak about it, does he support police officers? Does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn’t. I’ll tell you this, the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. This president has failed, and when I’m in the Oval Office, police officers will know that they will have the support of the president of the United States. That’s real moral authority that we need in the Oval Office.” (October 2015, CNBC GOP Debate)

"Everyone feels frustration with what's going on in New York. but then look at a city like Camden. Three years ago we fired the entire city police department and brought in new ones. With strict enforcement of the law and community policing, there has been a 61% decline in murder. This can be done, but you have to have leaders who are willing to step up and enforce the law. You're right when you said that this president encourages lawlessness because there are certain laws he doesn't like. We don't need new laws, just enforce the laws that are on the books!" (August 2015, O'Reilly Factor)

“Safety on the streets matters. Protecting the security and the safety of everyone, no matter where you live, matters.” (August 2015, O'Reilly Factor)

"Peace on our streets is more than just the absence of violence. Justice isn't something we can jail our way to. Justice is something we have to build in our communities. We have to give communities a chance to escape from the spiral of poverty, drugs and crime. We need more police officers on the street, police officers that are engaged with the community and can join forces with the community. We got more cops walking the beat instead of sitting behind desks doing paperwork. And after what we saw in Ferguson, I'm convinced this is absolutely something we should be encouraging states to invest in." (July 2015, speech in Camden, NJ)

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

“And so the first way you do [combat anti-Muslim bigotry] is by reaching out and getting to know people and letting them know you want to get to know them. Secondly, when I found really good Muslim Americans living in New Jersey who wanted to serve in government I pointed them to positions. I appointed a Muslim American lawyer to become a judge in New Jersey. A number of other Muslim Americans have important positions in the state, not because they’re Muslim American, [but] because they were good people.” (December 2015, New Hampshire town hall)

“[After 9/11] I went to mosques all around New Jersey and I met with the people in those mosques so they could see me and I could see them. And what you realize over the course of time is they’re Americans, too, and they love this country and they care deeply about its future and their children’s future. And you can’t – and this is just common sense, everybody – you can’t paint everybody with the same brush.” (December 2015, New Hampshire town hall)

In response to Donald Trump’s claim that Muslims in New Jersey were cheering after the World Trade Center fell on 9/11, Christie claimed, “I said I didn’t remember it, that was the way I put it that day. That wasn’t me trying to hedge anything, it was me telling the truth. I don’t remember it happening, and if it had happened, I’m pretty sure I’d remember it… The fact is people can say anything, but the facts are the facts and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and it didn’t happen since.” (November 2015, ABC)

In response to Donald Trump's comments on a supporter's bigoted question, Christie commented, "I would correct them. I would say the President is a Christian and he was born in this country. Those two things are self evident....I wouldn't have permitted it. If somebody at a town hall meeting of mine I would have said, 'No, listen. Before we answer, let's clear things up for the rest of the audience. And I think you have an obligation as a leader to do that.'" (September 2015, CNN)

“It is ridiculous and insulting that because I nominated Sohail Mohammed that people somehow think that means I am for sharia law. It’s crap. It’s the only way I can describe It … sharia law will not come to New Jersey because of Sohail Mohammed and as long as I’m governor, it won’t come into our state for any other reason and to suggest otherwise is nothing more than Internet blog B.S.” (March 2014, Republican Jewish Coalition)

In 2011 Chris Christie nominated Muslim attorney Sohail Mohammed to Superior Court Judge. He defended his nomination, stating “It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background. I’m happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.” (July 2011, AAI)

“Ignorance is behind the criticism of Sohail Mohammed. Sohail Mohammed is an extraordinary American who is an outstanding lawyer, and played an integral role in the post 9/11 period in building bridges between the Muslim-American community in this state and Law Enforcement.” (July 2011, AAI)

Immigration Reform

“The reasons, in my view, that immigration reform has failed up to this point… are because the American people don’t trust the government…We need to secure our border… I’m not a 2000 mile wall guy. I don’t think that makes sense. But I do think that walling and fencing along the border in certain of the most heavily populated areas has some efficacy to it. And certainly on the border I think we need to use more of our technology - drones and stationary cameras and such - so that it doesn’t become ungodly expensive to do it, but you have a way of monitoring the activity. I would be embedding a lot more FBI, ATF, and DEA agents in with our border control folks to try to intercept drugs and guns that are coming across the border as a public safety issue. But we’ve got to remember, too, that our visa program is one of the biggest problems that the American people are upset about. We invite people here for a period of time and then we don’t keep track of them and then they stay… We’ve got to find a way to make sure they don’t stay. We need to go to a biometric system on the media. Everyone coming here on a visa should have to give a fingerprint… And if you’re over your visa stay time then we need to tap you on the shoulder and say it’s time to go home.” (November 2015, Council on Foreign Relations)

"It's in the Constitution and I don't think we should be looking to change it. But the truth of the matter is that it's not something that, that's not something that we should be focused on, that is an applause line." (August 2015, Face The Nation)

"I think all this stuff needs to be reexamined in light of the current circumstances. [Birthright citizenship] may have made sense at some point in our history, but right now, we need to re-look at all that." (August 2015, Laura Ingraham radio show)

“If [undocumented immigrants] are not able to be employed if they come here illegally, if every employer uses E-Verify and if they violate the law, there are fines that are so significant that the profit they make off hiring lower-wage workers and discriminating against American workers won’t be worth their while.” (July 2015, Breitbart)

"Walls can be gotten over. The reason people come here is to work. So if we clamp down on folks who are hiring people in this manner, once we set up a fair system that everybody is signed on to, then I think we'll really decrease the amount of new illegal immigrants.” (April 2015, USA Today)

"For securing the border, I'm not somebody who's for building a wall from one end to the other. I don't think that's smart. I don't think it's efficient or effective. There are lots of different ways we can do it with manpower, with some fences, and with some surveillance electronic equipment. The other way to do it, by the way, is when you set up a fair system in this country that actually works.'' (April 2015, USA Today)

Regarding mass deportation of migrants in the U.S. "We don't have enough law enforcement people to round up 10 or 12 million people.'' (April 2015, USA Today)