As he seriously mulls a second Republican run for the White House, former two-term New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is confident he would have “a good chance” of landing a knockout blow against former President Trump “under the brightest of lights.”
During a trip last month to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP presidential nominating calendar, Christie argued that he has got the debate chops to potentially take down Trump should he face off with the former president, who is now five months into his third White House run and remains the clear front-runner in the early Republican primary polls.
Christie, back in the Granite State Thursday and Friday for a two-day swing, spoke with Fox News after headlining an addiction, recovery, and law enforcement roundtable discussion in Rochester, New Hampshire.
The question for Christie is whether he is best equipped out of the actual or potential contenders in the burgeoning Republican presidential field to effectively take down Trump on the debate stage.
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“I know what I’m good at. I know how to articulate an argument. I know how to make it. I know how to land it. And I feel like I have the ideas that people are genuinely attracted to. So if you have those things, you have a good chance to be able to do it. No guarantees, but a good chance,” said Christie, who is considered one of the best communicators in the GOP and was known during his tenure for the kind of in-your-face politics that Trump has also mastered.
Pointing to his potential rivals, Christie said “as to the others, you guys will have to judge the others. I just know who I am, and I think you all know who I am and what I’ve been able to do before under the brightest of lights… lots of people can do things when the lights aren’t the brightest. But when those lights get really bright and everybody’s watching, can you perform or can’t you? And that’s a lot about what these races have to do with.”
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When Christie headlined a town hall during last month’s trip to New Hampshire, he spotlighted that “you better have somebody on that stage who can do to him what I did to Marco.”
Christie was referring to his heated exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at a nationally televised debate in New Hampshire days ahead of the 2016 Republican presidential primary — a face-off that pundits awarded as a knockout blow to Christie.
“Because that’s the only thing that’s going to defeat Donald Trump. And that means you have to have the skill to do it and that means you have to be fearless, because he will come back at you and right at you,” Christie said. “So you need to think about who’s go the skill to do that and who’d got the guts to do it. Because it’s not going to end nicely, no matter what. His [Trump’s] end will not be a calm and quiet conclusion.”
Christie placed all his chips in his campaign for president seven years ago in New Hampshire. However, his campaign crashed and burned after a disappointing and distant sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, far behind Trump, who crushed the competition in the primary, boosting him towards the nomination and eventually the White House.
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Christie became the first among the other GOP 2016 contenders to endorse Trump and for years was a top outside adviser to the then-president and chaired Trump’s high-profile commission on opioids. However, the two had a falling out after Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden. In the past two years, Christie has become one of the most vocal Trump critics in the GOP.
However, the former governor, a weekly political pundit on “ABC’s This Week” on Sundays, told Fox News Thursday that “there’s one lane that leads to the Republican nomination for president and at the front of that lane right now is Donald Trump. If you want to win the Republican nomination for president, you have to beat Donald Trump and get in the front of that lane.”
When asked if he would concentrate a potential 2024 campaign in New Hampshire, at the expense of the other early voting states of Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada, Christie said, “I don’t know. I haven’t thought that all the way through yet. But I like New Hampshire.”
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a popular governor who was comfortably re-elected in November to a fourth two-year term steering the Granite State, is also seriously considering a 2024 run.
“I have great respect for the governor. He and I have been friends since before he was governor,” Christie said. “I think he’s a very good governor. And on top of that I think he’s a really good guy. And he seems to be having a lot of fun right now, and that’s good.”
When asked if a potential Sununu campaign would be an obstacle to a Christie path to the nomination, the former governor said that Sununu will “make his own decision on his own timetable.”
As for his own timetable, Christie pointed to a decision sometime next month.
“It’s an ongoing process. You investigate three different ways,” Christie explained. “First is to talk to people who have worked for you over time and know you well, and to get their opinions. I’ve been doing that. Second is to go to donors and see if it’s something they’re willing to financially support, because you can’t run a campaign for President of the United States without having significant financial support. And third, it’s in your heart. Do you feel like you can get up every morning and feel like ‘yeah, I know how I’m going to try to win this thing. I better go do it.’”
“Those are the things that I’m figuring out and when I get enough in all three of those categories, which I’m forcing myself to by no later than the middle of May, then I’ll let everybody know. But I’m not there yet. I don’t know enough yet. And I haven’t spoken to enough folks yet to be able to make a final decision,” Christie added.
Source – https://www.foxnews.com/politics/chris-christies-potential-2024-playbook-taking-out-trump-under-brightest-lights
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