EWING, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday said that he thought Donald Trump “misspoke” when he said there should be “some form of punishment” for women who get abortions.

During an MSNBC town hall earlier Wednesday, host Chris Matthews asked the presidential hopeful if there should be punishment for women who get abortions if they become outlawed.

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“The answer is there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said, calling abortion a “very serious problem.”


“For the women?” Matthews asked.

“Yes,” Trump responded.

Matthews asked Trump if women should be jailed.

“I don’t know. That, I don’t know,” Trump stated, adding that it is a “very complicated position.”

But in a subsequent statement, Trump said whoever performed the abortion would be held legally responsible, not the woman.

“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions,” Trump said.

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In a radio interview on WKXW, New Jersey 101.5, Christie said he was at a Princeton University baseball game at the time the MSNBC interview aired, but he had read a news story that included Trump’s subsequent statement. Christie called the statement “perfectly appropriate.”

“I think he’s perfectly correct, that if, in fact, there comes a time in this country when states are permitted once again to make abortion illegal, and someone were to perform an abortion, the person to be held responsible for that is the physician who performs the abortion, and not a woman who, quite frankly in my view – and I agree with him on this – is a victim there, as is the child in her womb,” Christie said.

Radio host Eric Scott noted that Trump had initially said there should be some kind of punishment for women who have abortions.

“I think he misspoke,” Christie said in response. “He obviously misspoke. He put out a statement.”

“But what do you think about when you hear stuff like that?” Scott said. “Because if that’s the case, he misspeaks a lot.”

“Well listen, I think everybody in public life misspeaks, and we’ve certainly had Hillary Clinton do it many times over the course of this campaign,” Christie said. “My point is that he’s no different than everybody else running. When you have a microphone in front of you, you know, a lot of times a day, every day, there are going to be times when you’re going to misspeak.”

Christie said it would be a different story if Trump had let his earlier comment stand rather than putting out a statement afterward.

“That would be different, but people misspeak all the time… but with him, everybody wants to make a bigger deal of it,” Christie said.

Christie said he did not think Trump has misspoken more than anyone else in the race.

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Trump currently leads his Republican rivals with 737 delegates. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is second at 460. But a new poll has Trump down 10 points to Cruz in next week’s primary, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.