Republican presidential contender Chris Christie said Monday the country cannot take another four years of Donald Trump in the White House, warning that the former president would be consumed with revenge against his political rivals and not doing what is best for the country.
Mr. Christie said at a CNN town-hall meeting in New York that Mr. Trump has become “angry” and “vengeful” since losing to President Biden in 2020.
“I am convinced that if he goes back to The White House that the next four years will be all about him settling scores with everybody who he thinks was not perfectly nice to him,” Mr. Christie said.
The former New Jersey governor, who once was a key ally of Mr. Trump, said Mr. Trump “has shown himself – particularly in his post-presidency to be completely self-centered, completely self-consumed and doesn’t give a damn about the American people … if what the American people want is in conflict with what Donald Trump thinks is best for him.”
“I don’t think that is who we want sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office,” Mr. Christie concluded.
Mr. Christie, who served as governor from 2010 to 2018 and before that as a federal prosecutor, formally launched his presidential campaign last week, promising to bring the political fight to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump is dominating the GOP race in polls, despite his legal woes.
The former president is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Miami on Tuesday on charges of mishandling sensitive national security documents and trying to block the government’s efforts to retrieve classified materials he took with him after losing the 2020 election.
Mr. Christie said the indictment is biting – and could get worse for Mr. Trump.
“It is a very tight, very detailed evidence-laden indictment and the conduct in there is awful,” Mr. Christie said.
“What I can tell you for sure,” said Mr. Christie, a former U.S. attorney, “there is probably about a third of the evidence they actually have is in that indictment.”
“When you are a prosecutor, you don’t put every card on the table before the table,” he said.
These charges come a couple of months after Mr. Trump was charged with falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment made to a porn actress ahead of the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump also was recently ordered to pay millions of dollars to a writer after being found liable for sexual abuse and is facing additional probes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential-election result in Georgia.
Mr. Christie, 60, ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and his campaign flamed out after a sixth-place finish in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire.
The former governor soon after endorsed Mr. Trump, becoming one of the first high-profile elected officials to back Mr. Trump and helping legitimize his bid in the eyes of some skeptical Republicans.
Mr. Christie now is singing a different tune, saying the last straw for him was Mr. Trump’s actions before and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
His longshot bid is going to hinge on his performance in New Hampshire where Republicans tend to be more moderate than caucusgoers in Iowa, which kicks off the nomination battle.
Mr. Christie is hoping a strong showing in New Hampshire could help separate himself and elevate him as the most viable alternative to Mr. Trump.
Polling underscores the challenge facing Mr. Christie. He is the top pick of just 1% of New Hampshire voters, according to polling averages.
Mr. Christie’s most memorable moment from the 2016 nomination contest came on the debate stage. He landed hard blows against Sen. Marco Rubio, mocking him as too scripted and too inexperienced to be president.
Mr. Christie says he plans to do the same thing with Mr. Trump this election cycle.
“The reason I’m going after Trump is twofold,” Mr. Christie said at his campaign launch last week in New Hampshire. “One, he deserves it. And two, it’s the way to win.”
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