GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie suggested Tuesday that former President Trump should have “skipped a couple of rounds of golf” to go through boxes containing classified materials after Trump said he did not have time to do so in response to a subpoena.
“He said the reason he didn’t give the documents back was because he just so very busy, and he didn’t have time to respond to a grand jury subpoena because he needed to get his golf shirts and pants out of the box,” Christie said on “CBS Mornings.” “I mean, does anybody in America believe this?”
“Look, I think the problem is going to be, for him over time, is that people are just not going to buy it,” the 2024 presidential hopeful and former New Jersey governor said. “And when you think about how many days of golf he’s played since he left office, maybe he could have skipped a couple of rounds of golf and gone through the boxes to respond to a subpoena from a grand jury.”
In an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier on Monday, Trump defended his retention of classified materials after his White House term ended. When asked why he didn’t turn over the materials after the government moved to subpoena him, Trump he “was very busy” and didn’t have time to sort through the boxes.
“Because I had boxes. I want to go through the boxes and get all my personal things out,” Trump said. “I don’t want to hand that over to [the National Archives] yet. And I was very busy, as you’ve sort of seen.”
Trump earlier this month pleaded not guilty to 37 counts after an indictment was handed down from the Justice Department alleging that he violated the Espionage Act and obstructed justice in his handling of classified documents.
Even as he faces federal charges and other legal battles, Trump is running for another presidential term in 2024 — after losing his 2020 reelection bid. Christie is among several other high-profile Republicans who have jumped in the GOP White House primary race alongside the former president.
Some of Trump’s fellow presidential contenders have latched onto arguments that the federal government has been “weaponized” in the wake of the former president’s second indictment, though Christie is among those who have gone the other direction.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said Trump’s legal issues should be disqualifying, while Vivek Ramaswamy has promised to pardon Trump if elected in 2024.
More Trump indictment coverage from The Hill
Christie on Tuesday said, “none of this would’ve happened to [Trump] or to the country if he had just returned the documents.”
“Last night, I think the worst moment for him was that — talking about the fact that he just didn’t have time to go through these boxes … in response to a grand jury subpoena, yet he told the government and had his lawyer certify that he had returned all of the documents that were responsive to the subpoena,” Christie argued. “That is obstruction of justice.”
“It appears to me last night, as a former prosecutor, that he had he admitted obstruction of justice on the air last night to Bret Baier,” he continued. “I can tell you this, his lawyers this morning are jumping out of whatever window they’re near.”