Christie: Trump 'enormously ill-served' by DOJ on 'zero tolerance' policy

Christie: Trump 'enormously ill-served' by DOJ on 'zero tolerance' policy
© Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Sunday faulted the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the Trump administration's handling of its "zero tolerance" policy and the subsequent separation of migrant families that prompted overwhelming backlash in the weeks since its implementation.

"I think one of the things that hasn’t been talked about this week, George [Stephanopoulos], is the president was enormously ill-served by the Department of Justice," Christie said on ABC's "This Week." 

"If the attorney general comes in and says to the president, 'I want you to do a zero tolerance policy, but let me just tell you, we don’t have enough judges to handle the cases, we don’t have enough prosecutors to bring the cases, and we don’t have enough detention facilities to legally detain the people that we’re going to show zero tolerance to,' the president would have never approved this," Christie continued. 


Christie's criticism of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIf bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold The metaverse is coming — society should be wary Trump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits MORE and the DOJ comes days after Trump signed an executive order halting the practice of family separation that occurred under his administration's zero tolerance policy. Trump's rare reversal came after he and administration officials for days said only Congress could address the issue.

The Trump administration has faced overwhelming bipartisan backlash over migrant family separations, which were a direct result of the administration's policy. Democrats and Republicans alike have called family separations “cruel” and “inhumane.”

Sessions announced the zero tolerance initiative in April, saying the DOJ would criminally prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally. As a result, he acknowledged, children would be separated from parents who were taken into custody.

Sessions has since justified the policy by invoking the Bible, and by arguing it acts as a deterrent to further illegal immigration, though he walked back his comments this week, stating that the Trump administration "never really intended" to separate migrant children from their parents.