Chris Christie Deflects From Trump’s Behavior After El Paso by Attacking Beto O’Rourke

Chris Christie Deflects From Trump’s Behavior After El Paso by Attacking Beto O’Rourke

Leave it to Chris Christie to get it completely wrong on political rhetoric in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso.

The former New Jersey governor performed his public faceplant on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, as per usual.

Christie was responding to comments from both Stephanopoulos and former South African ambassador Patrick Gaspard, who criticized Trump’s rhetoric after the shooting and accused the president of “politicizing” the event:

“The rhetoric from the top matters here. A president of the United States has to understand that a moment like this is not an ‘I’ moment in history, it’s a ‘we’ moment in history. And instead we have a president who’s creating photo ops, he’s holding a baby who’s a survivor of a shooting…”

To which Christie responded with the “both sides” formulation that is the bane of modern political analysis:

“If you want to talk about politicizing this moment, Beto O’Rourke in the last week has politicized this moment in an attempt to…”

Gaspard tried to explain to Christie that O’Rourke is not currently the president of the United States, but the big man was rolling:

“Beto O’Rourke wants to be President of the United States and the media is giving him time to do this, and he has politicized this moment–what he should be doing is being a lot more thoughtful.”

Beto O’Rourke is polling somewhere around three percent in a crowded Democratic field. He lives in El Paso and represented the city in the House of Representatives for two terms, so of course he is hurt and angry after the massacre. His position is not that of the head of state tasked with being a moral exemplar charged with uniting the country in the wake of a tragedy.

Besides that, the massacre will be “politicized” because all of the issues at play in it — the availability of guns, the status of undocumented immigrants and the president’s long-time campaign to demonize them — are inherently political issues that need to be addressed by elected politicians.

Christie knows all this, but he’d rather pretend otherwise so that he doesn’t have to defend Donald Trump’s divisive conduct. It’s a transparent ploy, and one Christie was thankfully called out for by other panelists. Not that he would ever acknowledge he was wrong when the alternative is an angry tweet from Trump.

Watch the video above, via ABC News.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.