Former President Donald Trump and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have had quite a history. Both ran for president in 2016, both seeking to take the line in the race of the loud, brash native of the Northeast with some degree of media savvy.
Chris Christie: Donald Trump Friend and Foe and Friend
Trump outlasted Christie, along with every other candidate in that race, and Christie endorsed Trump in February 2016, becoming the first major Republican figure to do so. Around that time, Christie was left with a strange facial expression during a press conference, that became a meme.
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Christie’s influence on Team Trump waxed and waned, which has often happened with advisers over the years. Christie failed to back Trump during the Access Hollywood tape scandal that October.
“Let’s be really clear. It is completely indefensible,” Christie said at the time. “I made that very clear to Donald on Friday when this first came out and, you know, urged him to be contrite and apologetic because that’s what he needs to be.”
And while Christie had been named head of Trump’s transition team, once Trump won the election he was removed from that role, and replaced by incoming Vice President Mike Pence.
Despite rumors that Chrirtie would get a high-profile job, or even be named vice president or White House chief of staff, the former governor never had any official position in the Trump Administration, although he did serve as an informal adviser at times. Steve Bannon said in 2017 that Christie had cost himself a cabinet post by not backing Donald Trump after Access Hollywood.
In the 2020 race, Christie assisted Trump with debate prep and was hospitalized soon after when he contacted COVID-19. He was later critical of Trump’s election denial and participation in the January 6 insurrection.
Last December, Christie also blamed Trump for the loss in Georgia of Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who pursued the Senate race with Trump’s backing and ran a gaffe-filled campaign that included numerous scandalous revelations from his past.
“Herschel Walker is his creation,” Christie told Politico at the time. “And so he’s got to own the fact that Herschel Walker so vastly underperformed.”
Trump Can’t Win 2024?
This week, Christie broke with Donald Trump even further than he typically has in the past, stating outright that he doesn’t think the former president can win re-election.
“I’ve said, over and over again, that he can’t win a general election,” Christie said this week on ABC’s “This Week.” “That’s based upon the polling that I was privy to pre-the 2020 election, and what we saw actually happen in the 2020 election. And it’s only gotten worse since then.”
Christie saw further evidence from the midterm elections last year.
“Then add to it what you saw happen in 2022, the election deniers losing across the country, bad candidates like Mastriano in Pennsylvania dragging the entire Pennsylvania ticket down in a historic way; Kari Lake, Blake Masters, Tim Michaels, Tudor Jones. We could go through the entire list, loser, loser, loser, loser, and I think Republicans are recognizing that.”
It’s not clear if Christie is considering running for president again, although he did recently appear at an event where other potential candidates have appeared, such as the recent Texas Voter Engagement Project Donor Appreciation Conference.”
His home state, however, has less than clear enthusiasm for a Christie presidential run.
According to a Monmouth University poll, per the New Jersey Globe, “just 20% of registered New Jersey voters think that Christie would make a good president, versus 73% who say he wouldn’t. The opposition holds across every demographic group; New Jerseyans young and old, Black and white, South and North are all united in their belief that Christie doesn’t belong in the White House.”
Among Republicans in the state, 34 percent say Christie would “make a good president,” while 60 percent say he would not.
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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.