Chris Christie went directly after Rand Paul’s opposition of the Patriot Act Thursday, saying he has a “severe case of amnesia” over the tragic events on September 11, 2001.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday, Christie continued his criticism of the Kentucky senator, saying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should stare Paul and other Patriot Act critics down in an effort to extend the law. The New Jersey governor added that he himself has “no amnesia” of 9/11 after attending funerals of friends in the Garden State.
“I think [McConnell] should stare down the critics of the Patriot Act. I absolutely believe — you know Hugh, of all the people who are engaging in this national conversation right now, I’m the only person who’s used the Patriot Act,” Christie said. “The only person who has reviewed applications and the only person who has, you know, convicted terrorists using the parts and the tools we have in the Patriot Act.”
The Patriot Act is set to expire June 1, with the USA Freedom Act being pushed by the White House as a replacement for the law, which was enacted in 2001.
“I think… Sen. Paul said something the other day that people were spying on people,” Christie said. “The fact of the matter is that what we’re doing is collecting the appropriate types of data that we need to collect to try to see who in our country is talking to folks who have terrorist ties around the world. I don’t understand, and will not understand why he does not believe that this can be done while also having appropriate oversight and balancing whatever civil liberties concerns that we have.”
“[F]irst and foremost, we’ve got to protect the homeland. I think that folks like those who are arguing against it have a severe case of amnesia of what this country felt like and what we experienced in the days after September 11,” Christie said. “I was nominated U.S. attorney by President [George W.] Bush on September 10, 2001. I have no amnesia about what happened the next day because I went to funerals in my home state where we lost the second most people, other than the state of New York, on September 11th, including personal friends of ours. I don’t have amnesia about that either, and I think whoever the next president is, they have to make sure we protect the homeland.”
Christie also slammed the libertarian-leaning Paul for his remarks Wednesday on “Morning Joe,” in which the senator blamed the “hawks” in the GOP for creating ISIS.
“I don’t agree,” Christie said. “In large part, I don’t agree with Sen. Paul’s philosophy that was espoused there.”
“The fact is this: you try to say that ISIS, which is based — the philosophy is based upon radical Islamist thought, was somehow created by folks here in the United States is just, to me, a statement that isn’t backed up by any type of fact,” Christie continued, “and I think the senator is struggling to justify his positions on some of issues which he finds, and not only folks in our party, but folks across the political spectrum, this country just don’t agree with.”