- Brian Blanco/Getty Images
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sharply criticized the media Tuesday, telling reporters in Mendham Township that they were giving “too much attention” to Donald Trump’s controversial remarks on US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.
“Let’s focus on what needs to be focused on here, and quite frankly, I think you all are paying much too much attention on this,” the Republican governor said.
“The fact is, the media loves controversy, the media loves to pay attention to this stuff and to work it up,” he added.
Christie, a fierce backer of Trump, said he understood why the media was intensely focused on Trump’s assertions that Curiel can’t fairly evaluate cases involving Trump University because of his Mexican heritage. But he scolded reporters for not moving on.
“The fact of the matter is, people who are going to vote today in New Jersey and people who are going to vote in November are not going to make their decisions based on this kerfuffle,” he contended.
Trump has repeatedly said Curiel, who is presiding over two lawsuits involving the real-estate mogul’s now-defunct Trump University, cannot be impartial because “he’s a Mexican.” The real estate mogul has argued Curiel’s heritage is relevant because of Trump’s promise to build a wall along the US-Mexico border if he’s elected in November.
Curiel was born in Indiana. His parents are Mexican.
Christie said Trump had “the right to express” his opinion and insisted that the New York businessman “is not a racist.”
The comments from the New Jersey governor came as prominent members of the Republican Party distanced themselves from Trump’s remarks.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday Trump’s comments represented the “textbook definition” of racism, but clarified later that he was “not” saying the billionaire is a racist. A Republican congressman from New York made a similar argument during a CNN appearance.
Watch Christie’s comments below:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 7,2016
Allan Smith contributed to this report.