(NEW YORK) — Former New Jersey Gov. and ABC News contributor Chris Christie told the hosts of ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast on Wednesday that it’s a “good thing” if President Donald Trump believes himself to be a “wartime president” in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“If he has been convinced of that, that’s a good thing,” Christie told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein. “And I think that what it means is that everything should be on the table in terms of executive action.”
His comments come after Trump called himself a “wartime president” during Wednesday morning’s White House press briefing, explaining that his administration is poised to fight “our war” against the virus.
The former governor also likened the pandemic to a war, adding that the government shouldn’t center its focus on anything else but stopping the spread.
“There’s nothing else we can do to improve the other things that are ailing the country, whether it’s the dropping stock market or employment issues or everything else,” he said. “None of that can be fixed until the coronavirus is put under control.”
He added, “And so that’s very much like a war.”
Karl questioned Christie on whether he believed the federal government is prepared to respond to the outbreak, to which he responded, “we’re getting there.”
“I think especially the last two days or so, the president’s tone has been exactly, I think, where it needs to be in terms of impressing upon the people in this country the seriousness of what we’re dealing with,” he said.
Asked about the partisanship during this pandemic, Christie warded it off, arguing that the criticism needs to “stop.”
“It would help if everybody would stop, OK? The guy I’ve been the proudest of is Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, who’s the chairman of the National Governors Association,” Christie told the hosts. “He’s been saying ‘we’re all in this together’ and we’ve got to stop criticizing each other and work with each other.”
Christie, who guided New Jersey through Hurricane Sandy during his tenure as governor, received his own share of criticism for working with then-President Barack Obama to respond to the natural disaster.
“Bipartisanship is not always rewarded by your own party, by the other party or by the media” Christie said, later adding, “The public also needs to award bipartisanship and show that that’s something that they want from our leaders.”
He continued, “Everybody’s got an obligation here.”
Christie also penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday, with suggestions for Trump on what he needs to do to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spread.
He shared his suggestions with the “Powerhouse Politics” hosts, highlighting his proposal to stop public gatherings until May 11.
“Listen, even then we’re gonna experience a significant number of deaths in this country, there’s no doubt about it,” Christie warned, citing how the number of cases are increasing each day as testing capabilities increase.
“There’s no question that this is going to be bad,” he continued. “How bad is going to be determined by the behavior of the American people over the course of the next the next 4-8 weeks.”
Sharing examples of recent shakeups in the administration, Karl asked Christie about the apparent chaos in the West Wing, coming at a heightened time of the pandemic.
“There’s no question there’s been some some gaps there because, you know, you’ve had people switching out of jobs,” he said. “But everyone’s got to pick up their share of the load here and put their egos aside.”
He added, “Because there’ll be enough credit to go around if the administration is seen as doing a good job on this.”
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