Christie talks Trump concerns, fields voter questions during NEC Town Hall

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Former New Jersey Gov. and republican presidential candidate Chris Christie took part in a Town Hall at New England College Tuesday, where he spoke for nearly an hour about free speech, higher education costs, energy, transgender rights, and the differences between himself and leading republican candidate Donald Trump.

Christie criticized Trump on several fronts and said the former President has been ‘hiding in the basement’ and ‘behind the walls of private clubs’ instead of participating in national debates. 

“He’s got to show up at debates if he doesn’t, I’m going to show up where he is,” Christie said. 

Trump skipped a GOP primary debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23, and may not attend the second one on Sept. 27 in California. 

When asked about Trump’s public criticism of Christie where he recently called him ‘mentally ill’ and a ‘fat pig’ Christie said the former president has changed over the years. 

“He’s gotten progressively worse, power has corrupted him,” Christie said. “People who you don’t respect, you shouldn’t worry what they think about you.” 

Christie fielded several audience questions about his stance on foreign and domestic issues.  He does not support President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness program and said colleges should be penalized for over-pricing. 

“I don’t think that colleges or universities should be permitted to raise their fees above the rate of inflation and if they do, they should be ineligible for federal aid,” he said. 

Regarding energy, Christie said the U.S. should be increasing domestic production and focus on nuclear energy, citing multiple plants that have been operating in his home state of N.J. for decades.  

When asked about concerns over online disinformation Christie said he is concerned about putting censorship control in the hands of a few and said one solution is a better educated public. 

“Speech is speech, and unless speech creates an imminent danger, I don’t think we should be regulating it,” Christie said. 

Olivia Brimmer, a student at NEC, asked about the candidate’s view on the protection of transgender rights by the federal government. Christie said he supports limited government involvement, calling the topic a family issue. 

“How could anybody think that a governor of a state is in a better position to make those decisions than the parents of that child,” he said. 

Gino Bonaventura, a student at NEC, said Christie seemed genuine in his responses. 

“That guy’s great. He loves saying how it is, doesn’t care who’s in front of him, and he’s going to tell the truth, nothing but it,” Bonaventura said. 

“Overall, I don’t trust the man,” said Gabe Reynolds, a student who has been following the campaign but did not attend the event.

“I think he’s the only one that can beat Trump,” said JP Marzullo, a Former New Hampshire State Representative in attendance Tuesday. 

At the end of the program, Christie told the audience he has seen singer Bruce Springsteen more than 150 times and despite their political differences, he hopes he can earn his vote by November. 

“We share, as older guys from New Jersey, our concerns about the future and so maybe that’s something to build on,” he said. 

NEC will host GOP candidate Ryan Binkley, Sept. 13 at 7PM in the Simon Center.

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