Governor Chris Christie warned President Donald Trump to be “selective” in his criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan in order to keep a good relationship with the Republican legislative leaders.
“I think you have got to be selective when you do it, because, in the end, you need to be able to work with these folks,” the New Jersey Governor told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Mitch McConnell is not going anywhere. Paul Ryan is not going anywhere. And so you don’t want to burn those bridges. Have a policy disagreement, but don’t make it personal.”
Christie’s comments come after several instances where Trump publicly disparaged congressional leadership, particularly McConnell, for failing to accomplish key legislative victories like repealing and replacing Obamacare.
“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!” Trump tweeted on August 10, one of seven times he wrote about the Senate Majority Leader on his twitter feed in July and August.
Trump also berated McConnell and Ryan for failing to to incorporate debt ceiling legislation into the Veteran Affairs bill. “They…didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!” he tweeted August 24.
With the budget battle — which includes debates over raising the debt ceiling — looming as Congress returns from recess, Christie said it is especially crucial that Trump and Congress find common ground.
“Anytime the government is shut down its a failure by the people in charge,” he said. “I would absolutely urge the President and members of Congress that its your job to resolve these disputes. Its your job to come and find common ground and not close down the government. Because the people won’t tolerate it.”
“Everybody’s gotta give a little bit,” he continued. “That’s the nature of government today.”
However, Christie, who was widely praised for the way he handled Hurricane Sandy in 2012, said the President is doing an “extraordinary job” in managing Hurricane Harvey, which has ravaged the state of Texas.
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