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Chris Christie, top GOP Trump critic, launches presidential bid

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has announced he is running for president, injecting a dose of anti-Trump criticism into a Republican primary field that has been largely reluctant to cross paths with its leading candidate.

Speaking without a script at a town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Christie called out the former president by name as he spoke at length about what he saw as a leadership crisis at a critical moment in American history.

“A lonely, self-absorbed, selfish mirror pig is not a leader,” Christie said.

“The person I’m talking about who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault,” Christie then clarified, “is Donald Trump.”

Christie also seemed to acknowledge that he is considered a long shot in the Republican primary, where Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are clearly up front.

“I will tell you tonight that I cannot guarantee you success in what I am about to do. who I am and what I am to stand up for and if I deserve it,” Christie said.

“I intend to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2024, and I want your support,” he said.

Christie, 60, announced his campaign in the same state where his last presidential bid was defeated.

Christie placed sixth in that state’s primary in 2016 and dropped out of the race soon after. In a surprising move, Christie endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump days later. He then helped prepare Trump for his debate against current President Joe Biden in the 2020 contest.

But his support for Trump dried up soon after, as the former president, following his loss to Biden, fed his supporters a firehose of conspiracy theories and false claims of voter fraud. widespread while pushing to undo his defeat.

Like many Republicans, Christie criticized Trump after a violent mob of the then-president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, derailing the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. But as much of the GOP establishment softened its stance on Trump in the months that followed, Christie stood by his criticism.

“I think he’s a coward and I think he’s a puppet of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Christie said last month in response to Trump’s comments about the war in Ukraine during a town hall on CNN.

Christie, whose aggressive withdrawal of Sen. Marco Rubio in a Republican debate in 2016 was a highlight of his campaign, stressed the need for current Trump challengers to confront him forcefully on the debate stage.

“You better have somebody on that stage do to him what I did to Marco, because that’s the only thing that’s gonna defeat Donald Trump,” Christie said. said in March.

“It’s not going to end well no matter what,” the former governor said of Trump. “His end will not be a calm and quiet conclusion.”

Christie has suggested in recent months that he will not run unless he sees a possible path to victory. For many political observers, this path remains unclear.

Polls from the potential primary race show Christie garnering little support from Republican voters. A recent Monmouth University survey found that Christie was the only declared or potential GOP candidate to receive a net negative favor rating, of 21% to 47%, from Republican voters.

Christie’s announcement comes less than two weeks after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially joined the Republican primary race, becoming the top non-Trump candidate. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott entered the primary the same week. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to join the fray on Wednesday.

Allies of the former New Jersey governor recently launched a super PAC, Tell It Like It Is, to support his run for president.

Christie was elected governor of the historically blue state in 2009 and served two terms, the maximum allowed under term limits rules.

He gained national attention in 2012 for his response to Super Hurricane Sandy, which hit his state and caused billions of dollars in damage. Christie’s vocal praise for then-President Barack Obama’s support amid the crisis angered some of his fellow Republicans, but polls for the governor rose in the wake of the storm.

Those high approval ratings would plummet at the end of Christie’s second term, which was marred by his connection to the 2013 ‘Bridgegate’ scandal.

In September of that year, commuter lanes were closed on the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey and New York for several days in retaliation against a mayor who refused to support Christie’s bid for re-election. Lane closures caused huge traffic jams.

In 2020, the Supreme Court overturned fraud convictions against two of Christie’s aides who had played key roles in the scandal.

Christie was succeeded by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who won a second term in 2021. Christie joined ABC News in 2018 as a political contributor. In 2020, he was hospitalized with a serious case of Covid-19 which he says put him in intensive care for a week.


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