New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) reportedly assured a room of GOP activists recently that Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t dare treat him the way Putin treats President Obama.
The New York Times reported on the remarks on Monday, although it was unclear exactly when the meeting took place. The newspaper described it as “a few days after Russian forces invaded Crimea” and said Christie had been asked how he would deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine.
He had trouble selling his audience on a tough stance, the Times reported:
According to an audio recording of the event, he said Mr. Putin had taken the measure of Mr. Obama. “I don’t believe, given who I am, that he would make the same judgment,” Mr. Christie said. “Let’s leave it at that.”
One attendee described Mr. Christie’s answer as disturbingly heavy on swagger and light on substance. Another called it “uncomfortable to watch.”
The report of the incident came ahead of Christie’s trade mission to Mexico, seen as an opportunity to enhance his stature on foreign policy.
Christie has sounded off on international affairs more frequently in recent months, slamming both Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Obama, calling Paul’s “libertarian” foreign policy “dangerous,” and Obama’s Israel policy a “failure of his presidency.”
But the governor has faced his own criticism: In March he apologized to GOP donor Sheldon Adelson after calling the Palestinian Territories “occupied” during a speech at a Republican Jewish Coalition gathering.
h/t The New Republic