Gov. Christie has entered the debate over President Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba, urging Obama to demand the Cuban government return a woman convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper.
In a letter to Obama released Sunday by Christie's office, the governor is seeking the return of Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of shooting and killing a state trooper in 1973 following a traffic stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. Chesimard escaped from prison in 1979 and at some point fled to Cuba. The FBI has placed her on its list of "Most Wanted Terrorists."
"I do not share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will result in a better and more just Cuba for its people," Christie said in the letter to Obama.
"However, despite my profound disagreement with this decision, I believe there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people it is serious about change," Christie said.
The governor added that he is "very disappointed that returning a convicted killer of a police officer was not already demanded and accomplished in the context of the steps you announced regarding this dictatorship."
Christie, who is considering running for president in 2016, has been selective about expressing opinions on national and international issues. He has advocated for the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama delayed. This fall, Christie accused the president of underestimating the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group.
He also criticized Obama last month over the president's executive order to halt deportations of undocumented immigrants – though he has refused to articulate his own position on immigration reform, saying that until he decides whether to run for president, "I have no role in the debate."
Christie's letter to Obama, dated Dec. 18, was first reported on by Fox News Sunday in a segment publicized by the governor's office.