Christie Talks Tough Foreign Policy
Hinting at what a possible run for the White House in 2016 would look like, New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Sunday called for a more aggressive foreign policy that defends American values abroad.
Speaking at the Champions of Jewish Values International awards gala in New York, Christie did not mention Israel specifically. But he insisted that America’s leaders must send “clear and consistent signals” to those nations it supports and those it doesn’t while promoting America’s values.
“We need to stand once again loudly for these values,” Christie said. “And sometimes that’s going to mean standing in some very messy, difficult places. Standing long and hard for those things that we believe in.”
“We will either lead or disappoint,” he added. “Those are the only two choices. Unfortunately, today, in my opinion, America is disappointing. But it’s not too late.”
Attending the ceremony was Sheldon Adelson, who at an estimated net worth of US$40 million, is arguably the Republican Party’s biggest donor. Adelson, who is known for devotion to Israel and promoting an aggressive American foreign policy, sat at Christie’s table.
Sunday’s speech marks the second time in two months that Christie has stumped at Jewish events. The governor made a faux pas during his speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition in April, when he referred to Israel’s “occupied territories.”
“I took a helicopter ride from occupied territories across … and just felt, personally, how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said.
The comment about “occupied territories” drew sharp criticism from some in the audience. The Israeli government and by extension most of Israel’s supporters in the U.S. don’t consider the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be occupied territory.
After the speech, Christie met privately with Adelson, who also was at the event, to explain that he misspoke.