'That's your opinion': Nicolle Wallace and Chris Christie clash over his 'rescue' of the GOP

'That's your opinion': Nicolle Wallace and Chris Christie clash over his 'rescue' of the GOP
MSNBC

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Chris Christie is on what some are calling a rehabilitation tour. The combative Republican former governor of New Jersey is hawking his new book, "Republican Rescue" on all the major news networks, trying to position himself as an alternative to Donald Trump as he anoints himself the savior of the Republican Party.

Christie, who left office with a dismal 14 percent approval rating despite (or because of) having others in his way to distance himself from Bridgegate, somehow having escaped any legal ramifications over his management of Hurricane Sandy funds, and after trying to slough off Beachgate, for a short time tried to be less "Christie"-like. But that softer persona disappeared this week, especially late Tuesday afternoon when he stepped on the set of MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" and sat down with host Nicolle Wallace.

It did not go well for him.

Here's basically how it ended, with Wallace – a former Republican – stringing him up using his own words, saying: "You may or may not support Donald Trump in 2024. You may or may not run for president. And [your] book about liars and conspiracy theorists doesn't have anything to say about Fox News."

READ: 'You're his lawyer': CNN host stumps Bannon lawyer by asking if client had 'foreknowledge' of Capitol riot

Here's what led up to that dénouement:

"You know the book is called – it's about conspiracies and lies and you really don't take on Fox News, why not?" Wallace asks.

She pounds him further on Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Christie says he doesn't watch the right-wing cable giant's top show and "I don't pay a lot of attention" to him.

Moments later, Wallace again pounds Christie, telling him, "I don't think it's an intellectually honest case to make against conspiracy theories without taking on Fox News."

READ: 'Biden delivered': Devastating Lincoln Project ad mocks 'so-called builder' Trump on 'infrastructure week'

In typical Christie fashion, he claps back, "Well, I, listen, then you can write that in your book."

Not having it, Wallace retorts, "Well, I'm not trying to rescue the Republican Party."

Seconds later, she presses him again on Fox News.

"I guess my question is you want to run for president, what's your relationship with Fox News going to be?"

"Well first of all, I didn't say I want to run for president. You said that. So let's be clear about that," Christie said, challenging Wallace.

"Well a lot of people have said that in the last few days – you haven't corrected any of them," she noted.

Wallace again goes back to Fox News.

"Do you think that Fox News in primetime is good for the country or bad?"

Christie basically refused to give a straight answer, knowing that if he wants to run for president he will need their support.

"Listen there are shows that I like in Fox News and shows that I don't like."

"You're afraid to question the purveyors of conspiracy theories and lies?"

READ: 'You're his lawyer': CNN host stumps Bannon lawyer by asking if client had 'foreknowledge' of Capitol riot

"But that's your opinion," Christie insisted, despite the fact that Fox News is a purveyor of conspiracy theories and lies. "You're welcome to your opinion like everybody else in this country is welcome to your opinion. I don't consider people like Sean Hannity, or Laura Ingram, purveyors."

Heather Digby Parton, the highly-admired Salon writer who goes by the name Digby, shared her thoughts after the interview:

Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali focused on Christie writhing away from Wallace's questioning on domestic violent extremism (which does not appear in that clip.)

Wallace had repeatedly asked Christie if he agreed with FBI Director Christopher Wray that domestic violent extremism is a top national security concern for America.

READ: Interview on 'The View' goes completely off the rails when ex-host pushes false vaccine claims

Christie's response? "I don't know" if Wray still thinks that.

"He testified about it in September," Wallace replied.

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