New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who chairs Donald Trump’s transition team, deflected questions on whether the Republican nominee is softening his stance on immigration, insisting that the candidate has been "completely consistent" on the issue.
"This is a guy who’s been very consistent on no amnesty, no legalization, for folks who have come into the country illegally, and that’s always been the underpinning of his policy, along with the building of the wall on the United States Mexican border," the New Jersey governor told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week."
At issue is one of Trump’s main campaign promises, to deport every immigrant who is here illegally and require them to reapply for citizenship from their home countries, through legal channels.
Trump has repeated this pledge throughout the campaign. But last week, Trump suggested that undocumented immigrants who had spent their time in the U.S. productively might be able to stay if they pay back taxes.
Christie insisted Trump remains committed to deportations, the core of his proposed immigration policy.
“I think he’s been very clear on this, we’re not going to have amnesty,” Christie told Raddatz.
“What we’re going to do is to get those who are breaking the law out of the country as quickly as possible to make sure that then you deal with people in a humane way,” Christie added. “I think that’s what he’s been saying. He’s been saying that for as long as I’ve been listening to him of late, and that’s what he’s going to do.”
Christie also addressed comments this week by another Trump adviser, Rudy Giuliani, who told NJ Advance Media that Christie was among the GOP candidate's inner circle who urged him to take a more moderate stance on immigration.
When Giuliani was asked if Christie was responsible for Trump’s more nuanced policy proposals regarding the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants, he said, "The answer to that question is yes." He added that Christie is "not the only one" advising Trump on immigration but said "he is great value" to the Republican nominee.
Christie declined on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the advice he gives Trump.
“Rudy can talk about whatever he wants to talk about. He’s my friend, I like him a lot and respect him, but I don’t talk about the advice I give to Donald Trump,” Christie said.
The New Jersey governor was also asked about Trump's calling Clinton a "bigot." He said Clinton started the name-calling.
"I’ll tell you this, this type of discourse in the campaign is just unwarranted, but it was started by Mrs. Clinton," he said.