TRENTON — Governor Chris Christie weighed in on the latest controversy surrounding the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Tuesday. Trump derided the Muslim parents of a soldier killed in Iraq after the soldier’s father, Humayun Khan, called Trump unqualified for the office during a speech at last week’s Democratic National Convention.
Before addressing President Barack Obama’s call that same day for Republicans nationwide to disavow their nominee, Christie shied away from defending Trump’s decision to go on the offensive against the grieving parents but said he cannot speak for the candidate himself.
“My view on this is that Khans have a right to do whatever it is they want regarding the loss of their son,” Christie said. “You’re not going to find me being critical of Mr. and Mrs. Kahn no matter what, even if I may disagree with any one particular statement they might make.”
That move has led many within the party, including former presidential nominee John McCain, to denounce Trump’s comments. U.S. Representative Richard Hanna, a Republican from New York, announced on Tuesday that he would be voting for Clinton because of the remarks and Trump’s inexperience.
Christie, the leader of the Trump campaign’s transition team, said that his thoughts on how advisable those comments were will reserved for Trump himself.
“It’s just inappropriate for us, in this context, to be criticizing them and I’m not going to participate in that,” he said. “I’ll give my advice to him as I always do: personally and privately, and then he can do with my advice whatever he wishes.”
Christie did, however, respond to Obama’s description of Trump as “unfit to serve as president.”
Christie called Trump’s Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton “unqualified to be President of the United States,” describing Obama’s comments as “obvious, partisan political comments from the president where he’s attempting to score points.
“I think the president has disqualified himself form giving comments like this. He says that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person in American history ever to be president. I believe Thomas Jefferson might object.”
Though Christie did not offer his reasoning, he said that there have been many better qualified candidates than Clinton.
“I think that John Adams was more qualified to be President of the United States. I also happen to think that George Bush 41 was more qualified to be President of the United States, to move it into more modern times,” he said.