Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is trailing badly behind Donald Trump in his quest to secure the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, took some more verbal potshots at the former president during a lively back-and-forth with Fox News host and media analyst Howard Kurtz.
For better or worse, Christie — who headed up then-President-elect Trump’s White House transition team in 2016 — has distinguished himself as his primary critic. “In his numerous media appearances, Christie has derided Trump for his litany of criminal allegations and insisted that Republicans will fail to retake the White House next year if he is their nominee for a third time,” Newsweek reported.
During a segment, Kurtz, who is Fox’s media analyst, cited a POLITICO article that claimed Christie is only resonating with GOP voters who have already decided they wouldn’t back Trump this time around, which he disagreed with.
“Yeah, how did those people get persuaded in the first place?” Christie countered. “I mean, let’s face it, Howie, this is a guy who’s going to be sitting in a courtroom for all of March and most of April defending himself for trying to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power rather than making the case against Joe Biden.”
Kurtz subsequently noted a statistic suggesting that 60 percent of Republicans felt that the nearly 100 criminal charges brought against Trump were unjust. Conversely, a recent poll conducted by CNN/SSRS indicated that only 44 percent of potential Republican voters in 2024 expressed concern regarding the charges against him.
Christie responded by saying that the real issue is that the indictments are likely to go against Trump among many Independents and “soft Democrats.”
“No, I think the questions are wrong,” the former governor said. “Whether you think they’re unfair or not, they are going to impact independent voters and soft Democrats in the general election. Both sets of people we need to win a general election as Republicans. And Donald Trump cannot win those people while he’s under indictment of four cases.”
He went on to cite Trump’s indictments related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot and his alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
“And if you don’t think that these charges and that conduct are going to be a major focus in the general election if we nominate Donald Trump, you’re kidding yourself. And we’re going to lose,” Christie predicted.
In the same interview, Christie also told Kurtz if Trump skipped out of the next debate, which is slated to be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, Calif., and moderated by Fox Business on Sept. 27, he would begin ‘shadowing’ the former president wherever he went.
“I’m sure he’s not coming to the Reagan debate. We’ll give him another chance in Alabama,” said Christie referencing the yet-to-be-scheduled third debate.
“But if he doesn’t come there, then I’m going to follow him around the country. Wherever he goes, I’ll go. And we’ll wind up talking to each other one way or another,” Christie added.
Late last month, Christie dismissed Trump’s demand that he and the other GOP contenders drop out of the race and unify around him because he’s so far ahead in the polls.
“I’m not getting out of this race,” Christie told CNN host Kaitlin Collins. “Maybe he should think about getting out of this race since he’ll be spending most of March and half of April in a courtroom in Washington, D.C., not fighting the fight against [President] Joe Biden like I’ll be doing every day.”
“He knows I’m not just some politician talking about his problems. I’m someone who has done it, and done it well. And I know how deep his problems are, and how much they’re damaging both the Republican Party and the country,” he added, citing Trump’s legal cases.