Chris Christie Very Offended by Obvious Point That Trump Might Need Russian Help to Win in 2020
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie became very offended on Sunday’s Meet the Press at the suggestion that Donald Trump can’t win the presidency without Russian help.
Christie was responding to a statement from Yvette Simpson, the CEO of the Democracy for America PAC during a conversation about election security. Host George Stephanopoulos had noted that he finds it “stunning” that all 535 members of Congress are not united in passing legislation that would attempt to secure future elections from the sort of Russian hacking and social media campaigns, as documented in the Mueller report, that may have had undue influence on the 2016 results.
Christie put the blame for this failure on both sides of the partisan aisle, claiming that lawmakers are not focused on the issue because they don’t think it does anything to help their election campaigns. Simpson disagreed by pointing the finger at one side, and it was Christie’s fellow Republicans. In particular, she meant Mitch McConnell, who just this week prevented two election security bills from coming to the Senate floor for a vote:
“But what we know is that one, the Senate Majority Leader is compromised based on money that he’s taken recently from, you know, organizations that, you know, make and process voting machines.
Not only that, but we know that the Republican Party is afraid that without Russian interference, this president can’t win.”
This set Christie off into a defensive rant:
“That’s just ridiculous, it really is. That’s the kind of stuff – that’s why things don’t get done, because people like you say things –people like you say things like that and imply that somehow that’s what moved the election and you have no evidence of that.”
He then warned Simpson that those sorts of accusations will bring about Trump’s victory in his re-election effort. Simpson, unmoved, got in the last word by noting that “there is a reason Republicans aren’t on board here.”
In terms of the hacking and social media campaigns, it is likely impossible to know if the furors that resulted from some of the more high-profile events, such as the leak of DNC emails stolen by Russian hackers, impacted voting in 2016 by depressing voter turnout in crucial swing states. But there is also zero evidence that it hurt Trump. Mueller himself said in his testimony last week that the Russian campaign had been an effort to help Trump into office, and he snuck in because of 70,000 votes in three key states while losing the nationwide popular vote by a significant margin.
The bottom line is that we do not know in a quantifiable way how Russia influenced the 2016 outcome. But noting that Trump might not have won without that nation’s efforts is in no way out of bounds. Indeed, it is one of the great unresolved and unknowable questions of our current political moment. No matter how much asking it offends Chris Christie.
Watch the video above, via ABC.