NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News)– New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is defending Donald’s Trump’s apparent shift on the mass deportation of immigrants living illegally in the United States.
On CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Christie said that as president, Trump would prioritize deporting approximately 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the U.S. If elected, Trump would then take a so-called “pause” in deporting the remaining 8 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
“Donald Trump is going to get rid of, very early on, the 2 to 3 million criminals that are here illegally in this country. That will be priority number one,” Christie said, as reported by CBS News. “Then, I think, what Donald Trump wants to do is take a deep breath and look at where we are in the country then and find a humane way to deal with those who remain.”
“So I think what he’s talking about is a pause,” Christie added. “Once [the criminals] are dealt with first, and I think everyone agrees on that issue, then we can deal with the remaining 8 million people.”
Christie remarked that it’s important for candidates to evolve their views on issues as they get more information.
“Listen, we want candidates and leaders to listen and if they hear new information or different information that leads them to conclude different things than their positions we want them to do that,” Christie said. “We don’t want people stuck in cement… I’m proud of the fact that he’s been willing to stand up and say what he believes on this as he’s learned more about the topic.”
Christie criticized Hillary Clinton for failing to talk to the press more and paying more attention to “mega-rich donors.”
“The fact is, Donald Trump is going to tell you exactly what he thinks. Sometimes you’ll agree with it, sometimes you won’t, but you’ll never have to wonder,” he said. “Hillary Clinton? She’s the mystery woman of 2016.”
Christie also commented on Trump’s relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Trump’s proposal to build a U.S.-Mexico wall that he would like Mexico to pay for.
“I think that Donald Trump has negotiated some extraordinary deals over the course of time in his career, and this will be another challenging deal for him to negotiate, but I absolutely believe that’s the way he sees it,” Christie said. “It’ll be part of an overall negotiation with Mexico to improve the economies of both countries and to ensure the lives of people in both countries are protected.”
The first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump is September 26, and Christie emphasized that Trump is taking the necessary steps to prepare and show the nation the kind of leader he would be.
“Everybody needs to prepare,” he said. “I mean, you need to get ready and Donald is taking that process very seriously. But in the end there’s nothing you can do in preparation that can hide the essence of who you are.”