Christie’s recent remarks on his counterterrorism experience are also prompting backlash, particularly among supporters of his political rivals, who note that Christie was much better known for battling public corruption than for fighting terrorism when he was a U.S. attorney.
“His newfound war on terror?” said Rick Shaftan, a New Jersey Republican political strategist who is supporting one of Christie’s rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.). “His whole thing was corruption. That was his claim to fame, not terror.”
Patrick Murray, director of polling at Monmouth University, said Christie “made sure people knew” he was fighting corruption as a prosecutor from 2002 to 2008.
At the same time, counterterrorism was clearly a higher priority for all U.S. attorneys after 9/11, particularly those in districts neighboring New York, according to those familiar with the kind of work that prosecutors such as Christie were doing at the time.