Gov. Christie slammed President Obama's leadership repeatedly during an hourlong interview Monday on statewide television, taking aim at the president's decision to normalize relations with Cuba as well as his response to Sony's withdrawal of a film following hacker threats.
Repeating his call for Obama to demand the return from Cuba of a woman convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper, Christie said in the interview with Steve Adubato on NJTV that the president had received too little from Cuba before deciding to restore diplomatic ties.
"The president was wrong in not asking for it," Christie said of the return of Joanne Chesimard, who fled to Cuba sometime after escaping from a New Jersey prison in 1979. A Cuban official told the Associated Press Monday the country has a right to grant political asylum to "people it considers to have been persecuted" – a remark that Christie said proved Obama made a mistake.
"The president said this is going to change things in Cuba, this opening up … One of our state troopers was murdered in cold blood, his killer was convicted and these thugs in Cuba have given her political asylum for 30 years. It's unacceptable and I'm going to continue to speak out," Christie said. He called the situation "an awful deal and it is typical of this president, unfortunately, in negotiations."
The Republican governor also faulted Obama over Sony's decision to pull "The Interview" following cyber attacks on the company by hackers, identified by the FBI as North Korean, and threats to movie theaters.
While Obama said Sony hadn't spoken to him before pulling the film – a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – "it seems to me it's the obligation of the president of the United States to call them," Christie said. "The president made a mistake by not being assertive."
Christie also criticized Obama on marijuana policy, accusing the administration of talking "out of both sides of its mouth" by not intervening the efforts of some states to legalize marijuana while continuing to enforce federal laws against the drug.
And he again accused Obama of underestimating the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, though he declined to say how he would handle the situation. "I'm not going to sit here and lay out military strategy," Christie said.
Christie was restrained when asked about the debate following the killings Saturday of two New York City police officers, which have included assertions that Mayor Bill de Blasio should have done more to tone down anti-police sentiment.
"One of the things that disturbs me about the entire conversation we're having right now is it seems lots of people are trying to score political points here," Christie said, asking "everybody to take a deep breath and think about the loss that's been suffered by those two families and take some time out to pray."
He pointed to Camden, saying the city had progressed under the county-run police force.
"I think the model that we've established here in Camden could be a model that folks consider around the country," he said.