A Mixed Message From Chris Christie

The Curmudgeon thinks Chris Christie was a good choice to lead the Trump administration’s commission to look at ways to address the opioid crisis.  After Christie returned to New Jersey following his failed bid for the presidency and spent a few months understandably feeling sorry for himself, he threw himself into the opioid crisis with a vigor and apparent purpose that were surprising – but most welcome.  As his term of office draws to a close – he’s in his last year as governor and cannot run again – he seems to view addressing the opioid problem as something on which he can build his legacy, and you don’t have to be a Christie fan – which The Curmudgeon is not – to wish him well.

When Christie appeared at a news conference with the president last week to announce creation of the commission with Christie as its head, Christie said

He [President Trump] and I are both pro-life.  We’re pro-life for the whole life.  Not just for the nine months in the womb, but for the whole life.  Every life is an individual gift from God and is precious. And no life is irredeemable.

And therein lies the mixed message, because as a proponent of the death penalty, Christie has declared some lives beyond redemption.

In 2015, he told the New York Times that

I’ve always believed that the death penalty is appropriate, and the reason it’s appropriate is because it’s an act of self-defense.

In 2011, Christie supported a bill in the New Jersey legislature that would have reinstated the death penalty in the state; that bill failed.

To be fair, Christie’s support of capital punishment seems lukewarm, as if it’s something expected of him because he’s a former prosecutor who wants to be seen as a real tough guy and he’s a Republican and it’s so incredibly, incredibly important for Republicans to convince people they’re tough on crime.

But in the end, his comment about “no life is irredeemable” seems hollow as long as he’s perfectly willing to declare some people irredeemable by sentencing them to death for their crimes.

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