GOP presidential candidate (and unofficial Trump foil) Chris Christie is questioning Donald Trump’s mental health after recent remarks Trump made disparaging Christie.
Here’s the exchange, tic for tac.
On Wednesday, Trump appeared for a radio interview on the “Hugh Hewitt Show,” where Trump proceeded to insult Christie repeatedly. For example, when Trump was asked whether he was concerned with Christie’s candidacy, Trump replied: “I couldn’t care less. I think he’s not a very smart person. I think he’s a very disturbed person. He and maybe deranged Jack Smith should get together for dinner.”
The response was vintage Trump. Rude. Dismissive. Ad hominem. Hyperbolic. Hilarious. It’s the sort of thing we’ve heard Trump spew countless times so many different people. It doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point. Yet, Christie took the bait – understandably, given that Christie seems to exist at this point to badger Trump.
“When he says stuff like that about somebody who supported him in 2016, prepared him for the debates with Hillary Clinton, supported him in 2020 and prepared him for the debates with Joe Biden – if I was so useless, and dumb, and deranged, how did all that stuff happen?” Christie asked on a Wednesday interview with Eric Bolling on “The Balance.”
Christie raises entirely fair points – which strike at Trump’s fickle loyalties and scornful resentments. But then Christie went a touch too far, pulling a few lines out of the Trump playbook.
“It’s sad,” Christie added. “[Trump is] under a lot of stress and a lot of pressure and saying these things makes me really concerned for his mental health.”
Obviously, Christie knows Trump is just being Trump – and that Trump’s comments are not indicative of a mental health condition, or stress, or pressure. It’s just the rote, reflexive lash-out that Trump has been employing incessantly against any and all opposition.
Christie continued: “I feel bad for Donald. I really do. You know, he’s on there saying that I’m not very smart, that I’m very deranged. Look, he didn’t think that, Eric, in 2018 when he offered the White House chief of staff [to me]. He didn’t think that in 2016…when he made me chairman of his transition, he didn’t think that in 2017 when he made me chairman of his opioid commission. He didn’t figure it out when he offered me Secretary of Homeland Security twice, and Secretary of Labor.” Again, fair points.
I can’t speak precisely to what happened between Trump and Christie but obviously there was a falling out. Christie was one of the first mainstream members of the GOP to endorse Trump for president during the 2016 election – an indication of how powerful Trump was becoming. And Christie, as he mentioned, was integral to the Trump campaign down the homestretch of the election, and then post-victory, during the White House transition.
Christie was looking like a prime candidate for a plush cabinet position. Mabe even the Vice Presidency. But something happened. Something pushed Christie out. Some speculated that Jared Kushner, whose father Christie had once prosecuted, stepped in and forced Christie’s excommunication. Whatever happened it left Christie, understandably, feeling personally scorned. Now, as the 2024 GOP primary heats up, Christie is relishing the role of Trump-basher.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.