New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took aim at his own party on Wednesday afternoon, arguing the GOP doesn’t always sound like it’s being inclusive.
“My party quite frankly has been guilty in some respects of speaking in a way that doesn’t sound very welcoming to new members,” the potential Republican presidential candidate argued during a keynote address at the Latino Coalition’s 2015 Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C.
He added, “Any club that you might want to join, even if you agree with all the principles of that club – or most of them– if the club doesn’t sound like it’s welcoming, you’re not going to come, no matter how much you might agree with them.”
The governor did not elaborate on which issues he believes the Republican Party does not sound welcoming on – and a request for more details from Christie’s office and leadership political action committee were not immediately returned. But he made the remarks while discussing how he was able to win over 51% of the Latino vote during his 2013 gubernatorial election bid in his blue-leaning state.Christie said there was a myth that some Americans will only vote for a certain party. “It’s not true,” the governor said, adding he was able to win through “old-fashioned hard work” and being a leader who “closes his mouth for a little while and opens his ears.”
Much of his address centered on education and the economy. On the former, Christie noted the “Latino community has growing political influence in this country and you need to use it” and accused teacher unions of caring more about their members instead of improving the education system. When asked how he’d improve the economy –particularly for the 3 million Latino-owned businesses in the U.S. – Christie reiterated his call for a simpler tax code and lowering corporate taxes.
Immigration did not come up, even as Christie just weeks ago changed his tune on providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
The governor has said that he’s still a few weeks away from officially announcing whether or not he’ll run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. Christie will be in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state of Iowa on Thursday and Friday where he’s expected to deliver a speech on education in Ames and hold a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids.