Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said of the explosion before a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, NJ and a bombing in New York City’s Chelsea district, that the incidents were “terrorism.”
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: So, Governor, what can you tell us about the explosion in New Jersey? Are there any suspects, any leads? Do officials think there may be a connection to what happened in New York or Minnesota?
CHRISTIE: Well, Jake, first off, we don’t believe at this time that there is evidence connecting it to the attacks in New York or Minnesota. The FBI is leading the investigation, along with the New Jersey State Police and our Office of Homeland Security. We have some promising leads, but no suspects at this time. And so we’re continuing to work with the authorities to make sure that we bring whoever is responsible for this to justice as quickly as possible.
TAPPER: There must e a lot of suspicion in your mind, though, about a connection to terror, especially with the bombing in New York the same day.
CHRISTIE: Oh, of course there are, you know, but, again, I think one of the things — and this comes from my background as a prosecutor for seven years, Jake — you don’t want to jump to conclusions. And you don’t want to put information out there that you don’t know is absolutely true. And so, as I said, we have some promising leads. We’re working with the FBI and our state police to follow them. But, obviously, if you look at a number of these incidents, you can call them whatever you want. They are terrorism, though. There’s no doubt about that. They are terrorism. Now, who is responsible is something else and what the motive was is something else that hopefully we are going to find out in the days ahead. The fortunate thing here in New Jersey is that no one was injured. The race had not start yet — started yet down at the Jersey Shore. And so we’re very fortunate that no one was injured here. We pray for those people who were injured in those other attacks.
TAPPER: There is a contrast, I would say, between how you’re speaking about it and how Mr. Trump spoke about it yesterday. He’s being criticized for talking about the New York bomb before local officials or local law enforcement had a chance to do so. He told a Colorado Springs crowd that a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on. That’s really just a few minutes after the incident. And his opponent tried to draw a contrast. She waited hours later, until local officials spoke, and then she said this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it’s important to know the facts about any incident like this. I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: As a general note, do you think politicians should wait until more information comes in? And should they defer to local official and investigators? Isn’t that what you do as the governor of New Jersey?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I don’t think you have to defer when saying that there was an explosion and a bomb in New York. I mean, everybody knew that. It was being reported on television, Jake, so there’s a difference. Now, you shouldn’t attribute it to any particular organization or group if you don’t have the facts or information to do that. But I think that what Donald did was perfectly appropriate to tell that group in Colorado Springs that a bomb had exploded. This is typical Mrs. Clinton. She has absolutely no basis to be critical of what he did yesterday. But since her campaign is only based upon that, that’s the only, you know, issue she could go to. And it’s a shame. But it’s because of her type of leadership over the last eight years, along with the president, that the world is a much more dangerous place.
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