New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Christie: Biden's new vaccine mandate will 'harden opposition' Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid MORE says Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.) will be responsible if the U.S. is ever again hit by a major terrorist attack
“What Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing,” Christie (R) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, repeating criticism about Paul's fundraising off of his opposition to the Patriot Act.
“We’re going to look back on this, and he should be in front of hearings — in front of Congress — if there’s another attack,” he added. “Not the director of the FBI or the director of the CIA.”
The comments from Christie, a former federal prosecutor who has repeatedly said he relied on controversial Patriot Act provisions to prosecute potential terrorists, are his most pointed yet toward Paul, one of his many opponents in the race toward the GOP presidential nomination.
Paul has been a vigorous opponent of the Patriot Act, and earlier this year, used procedural tactics to force a brief expiration of some portions of the law, temporarily handicapping the National Security Agency. He also staged an extended 11-hour Senate floor speech to oppose the spying.
The NSA’s powers were quickly renewed but not before Paul had managed to score a significant political win and use the issue to raise his public profile and cement support from some of his libertarian backers. Paul’s campaign sold a “filibuster starter pack” and repeatedly referenced Paul’s moves in fundraising emails to supporters.
While other Republican presidential candidates, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have called for new limits on the NSA, Paul’s desire to entirely eliminate the Patriot Act made him an outlier in the party.