In an interview with CNN’s State of the Union, Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie pointed to former President Donald Trump as a contributor to the rising trends of hate in America during the Israel-Palestine conflict. Citing a New York Times piece, Christie acknowledged that while he doesn’t believe Trump is an anti-Semite, he stated that Trump’s “intolerance of everybody” has contributed to the surging bigotry.
Christie emphasized that Trump’s rhetoric, which he described as intolerant, does not consider the impact of being perceived as a leader whose words matter. According to Christie, such rhetoric gives permission to bigots, as they interpret it as approval for expressing their intolerant views.
The former New Jersey governor highlighted the concerning situation on college campuses where anti-Semitic displays and threats have occurred during pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Christie circled back to Trump, accusing him of creating a political atmosphere where individuals feel free to openly express bigotry
“I DON’T THINK TRUMP’S AN ANTISEMITE,” EVEN THOUGH HE HAS ROUTINELY ESPOUSED STEREOTYPES OF JEWS, MR. CHRISTIE SAID. BUT, HE ADDED, MR. TRUMP’S “INTOLERANCE OF EVERYBODY” IS “WHAT’S CONTRIBUTED TO” THE SURGING BIGOTRY.
“HE SAYS WHAT HE SAYS, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FACT THAT HE’S PERCEIVED AS A LEADER AND THAT HIS WORDS MATTER,” MR. 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.”
In Christie’s view, Trump’s intolerant language and conduct contribute to a broader culture of intolerance, encouraging others to follow suit. The interview addressed the complex relationship between political rhetoric, leadership, and the expression of discriminatory sentiments during times of international conflict.