Last Tuesday night in Cleveland, Chris Christie went where FBI chief James Comey feared to tread - indicting Hillary Clinton for serial poor judgment and bad behavior. He scrolled through her many lapses, trying her in the court of Republican opinion. The convention hall came to life, lustily pronouncing her guilty on all counts.
Christie began with Libya, citing Hillary’s enthusiasm for the overthrow of strongman Muammar al-Gaddafi. What is the fall-out? As Christie said, blood in the streets and a failed economy. Democrats portray the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent sectarian strife as a disaster; the utter collapse of Libya is, just possibly, worse.
He moved on to Nigeria, where he said Hillary fought for two years (against the urging of the CIA, the FBI and the head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command) to keep Boko Haram, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, off the Foreign Terrorists Organization list. That’s the same Boko Haram that in 2011 bombed a U.N. headquarters in the country, killing 23 and injuring 100. It’s also the same group that in 2014 abducted nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, most of whom remain in the hands of the Jihadists as sex slaves.
Christie noted that the Obama White House confronted this heinous act with a hashtag campaign. Remember that? #BringBackOurGirls? Shockingly, not only did that spirited effort not bring back those poor girls – it also unleashed a torrent of scorn from the terrorists, who produced a video mockingly demanding to #BringBackOurArmy. In 2013, Hillary’s successor John Kerry finally added the horrific group to the terror list.
What Christie didn’t explore were ties between the Clintons and Nigerian businesspeople like Gilbert Chagoury, who donated millions to the Clinton Foundation, and Nduka Obaigbena, who paid Bill Clinton $700,000 for each of two speeches made in 2011 and 2012, respectively, while his wife still served as Secretary of State.
According to Mindy Belz and J.C. Derrick writing in World Magazine, Nigerian billionaires like Chagoury cashed in on the chaos created by Boko Haram in the northern oilfields of Nigeria as the violent terrorists drove out legitimate industry participants. Adding to the tangled web, Marc Rich, once pardoned by Bill Clinton, seemingly also benefited from black market Nigerian oil dealings. Nigeria’s former anti-corruption cop claims that Chagoury funneled several billion dollars in illicit oil profits to Swiss bank accounts. Some claim that these Clinton pals persuaded Hillary Clinton to keep Boko Haram off the FTO, to let the games continue. It’s ugly speculation that could be laid to rest most easily by examining Hillary’s emails on the topic which, not surprisingly, have gone missing.
Next, Christie recalled Hillary Clinton’s enthusiasm for China’s purchases of U.S. debt, and for promising to oppose a “Buy American” provision in the stimulus bill. Hillary was not alone in that opposition. Corporate America also weighed in, since few manufacture in the U.S. anymore. But, Hillary’s past enthusiasm for trade deals like NAFTA and Obama’s TPP, and her ready cooperation with corporations that might benefit from those agreements (many of which contribute to the Clinton Foundation), is undisputed.
Moving on, Christie denounced Clinton’s past description of President Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer.” He could have expanded on his indictment by citing the distinction she drew between Gaddafi and Assad in an interview. She said that U.S. military action against Libya was justified because the former was “bombing and strafing his own people,” while Assad was engaged only in “police actions which…have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.” Those police actions which have now, by the way, resulted in the deaths of some 400,000 Syrians.
Christie hammered Clinton for her support of the Iran deal, which he says makes Israel less secure, and which recent revelations indicate was sold on a lie. The Obama White House claimed that it was encouraged to negotiate the nuclear deal because of the rise of “moderates” in Iran -- that was not true. There is no political shift in Iran, and the deal has not brought Tehran closer to the west. That was a story the White House dreamed up to bring Americans on board Obama’s “legacy” deal.
Christie was appropriately scornful of Clinton’s engagement with Russia. As he said, it started with her presentation of the idiotic (and misspelled) “reset” button to Foreign Minister Lavrov, which was meant to blame the Bush White House for the deterioration of relations between our two countries. That encounter followed Russia’s invasion of Georgia by just seven months and presaged Obama’s subsequent stand-down after Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Christie quoted Clinton saying (to an interviewer in 2010) that her goal was to strengthen Russia. Mission accomplished.
Christie’s travelogue of diplomatic failures continued as he noted Clinton’s enthusiasm for restored relations with Cuba. He charged that Obama enabled the Castro brothers while demanding nothing in return and that Cuba continues to harbor cop killer Joann Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for the killing of State Trooper Werner Foerster. He failed to remind the audience that many members of Black Lives Matter hail Shakur as their hero, proudly wearing t-shirts proclaiming Assata Taught Me.
Christie saved the best for last, lambasting Clinton for lying about her use of a private email server. She was, he said, more interested in “protecting her secrets than the secrets of the United States.” As Donald Trump Jr. said in his electrifying speech, Hillary Clinton couldn’t pass a background check. He’s right.
Christie’s speech aimed at Republicans who may not love Donald Trump but who agree that Hillary Clinton does not deserve a promotion. The GOP is still divided in many ways, but on this, they are united. Christie concluded that Hillary will probably deliver what she has promised – four more years of Obama, but with less charm and more lies. I think he got that just about right.