Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie launched into the 2024 presidential race on Tuesday, filing his official paperwork hours ahead of a scheduled kick-off event.
Christie was outspoken in his criticism of former President Donald Trump, who remains the Republican frontrunner in the polls, and he’s likely to pursue those lines of attack now that he’s in the running.
Christie took direct aim at the former president as he announced his candidacy at a town hall held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester on Tuesday night.
“The person I’m talking about who is obsessed with the mirror? Who never admits a mistake? Who never admits a fault and will always find someone else – and something else – to blame for everything who’s wrong, but finds every reason to take credit for everything that’s right, that’s Donald Trump,” Christie said.
Speaking as a political analyst on ABC News’ “This Week” last month, Christie said GOP candidates can’t beat Trump by “snuggle up to him.”
In 2016, Christie ran against Trump for the GOP nomination, but dropped out after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary. The two then became allies, with Christie leading Trump’s presidential transition team until shortly after the election, then working on preparations for the 2020 debate against Joe Biden.
But Christie became a vocal critic of the GOP after Trump refused to concede his 2020 loss, instead espousing baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud.
In a recent interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Christie hit out at Trump for saying he could skip the first GOP primary debates this summer.
“If he really cares about the country then he’s going to get up there and he shouldn’t be scared,” Christie said.
“I’m sorry to see that Donald Trump feels like if he gets on stage he might lose his lead,” he said. “If, in fact, his ideas are so great, if his leadership is so exceptional, then his lead will only increase if he takes the stage, not decrease.”
Christie also aired her grievances with the former president at several town hall meetings in New Hampshire’s first primary state over the past few months.
At a town hall meeting there in April, Christie devoted his entire opening speech to excoriating Trump.
“Tonight is the start of the case against Donald Trump,” Christie said. “You’re not going to beat someone up by closing your eyes, clicking your heels three times and saying, ‘There’s no place like home.’ It will not work.
“Donald Trump is a television star, nothing more, nothing less,” he added. “Let me suggest that by putting it back in the White House, reruns will be worse than the original broadcast.”
At another town hall in March, at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Christie suggested that Trump’s 2024 challenger must have the “competence” to debate him, predicting that such a scenario “is only going to happen.” not end well” for Trump. .
Christie served two terms as Governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. His tenure came under scrutiny during the so-called Bridgegate Affair, a 2013 political scandal involving lane closures at the bridge George Washington in alleged retaliation against a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s re-election.
Following a federal investigation, Christie’s allies were sentenced to short prison terms in 2017 after a jury determined they closed two of the three lanes leading to the bridge, resulting in a monumental traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey. (The Supreme Court later overturned the convictions.)
Prior to being elected governor, Christie served as the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2002 to 2008 under President George W. Bush.
Christie joins a group of at least eight candidates for the 2024 GOP nomination, including Trump, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to announce a potential offer on Wednesday.