Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told CNN that former President Donald Trump’s “intolerance of everybody” is a major factor in spikes of islamophobia and antisemitism.
Since the October 7 terrorist attacks in Israel and subsequent conflict in the Gaza Strip, clashes between pro-Palestine and pro-Israel groups have been observed in a number of U.S. cities.
On Thursday, Christie joined CNN shortly after reports emerged that three pro-Palestine protesters were shot in what may be a bias-related crime. Instead of pointing to the conflict, Christie blamed former President Trump for “giving permission” to extremists to lash out.
“Well, look, when you show intolerance towards everyone, which is what he does, you give permission, as a leader, for others to let their intolerance come out,” Christie said. ““Intolerance towards anyone encourages intolerance towards everyone, and that’s what’s going on here,” added the former governor.”
Christie — whose 2024 campaign has largely centered around criticism of the former president — has repeatedly blamed Trump for spikes in extremism and bias-related incidents since the October 7 attacks. While speaking with the New York Times earlier this month, Christie stated that while he does not believe his former boss is an antisemite, he believes his “intolerance of everybody” is giving rise to extremist rhetoric.
“He says what he says, without regard to the fact that he’s perceived as a leader and that his words matter,” Christie said. “The bigots think you’re giving them permission be a bigot,” he added, “and that’s even worse than them thinking you are one.”