Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be the next GOP primary candidate to get a town hall slot on CNN, following in the footsteps of former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
The cable news network said anchor Anderson Cooper will moderate the live town hall at 8 p.m. Monday in New York.
Voters from the first four states to vote in the GOP primary will attend and ask questions alongside Republicans from New York and New Jersey who plan to vote in 2024. CNN will stream the event live without requiring persons to log in with a cable subscription.
CNN’s events with Mrs. Haley and Mr. Christie arrive on the heels of its polarizing decision to host Mr. Trump in a town hall that featured a friendly audience. CEO Chris Licht, who faces internal company pressure, defended the event as an important exercise in news gathering, but others said it was a bad look for CNN to let Mr. Trump deliver falsehoods about the 2020 election to an audience that cheered him on.
Mr. Christie, a 60-year-old who served as governor from 2010 to 2018, leaped into the race this week vowing to serve as an attack dog against Mr. Trump, the frontrunner in polls.
Polling shows Mr. Christie with 1% of support in New Hampshire, a critical early primary state, compared to 41% for Mr. Trump and 23% for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is considered Mr. Trump’s biggest threat in the race for the Republican nomination.
At a kickoff event in New Hampshire, Mr. Christie criticized Mr. Trump for losing to President Biden in 2020 despite Mr. Biden’s weaknesses. He said Mr. Trump lost because the public was fed up with his lying and narcissism.
“Joe Biden wouldn’t be in office if it wasn’t for Trump,” Mr. Christie said.
It is a turnabout from 2016, when Mr. Christie endorsed Mr. Trump for president after dropping out of the GOP primary. Mr. Christie worked on the Trump transition team, but their relationship soured and Mr. Trump sometimes alludes to Mr. Christie’s weight.
“How many times did Chris Christie use the word SMALL? Does he have a psychological problem with SIZE?” Mr. Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform Tuesday. “Actually, his speech was SMALL, and not very good. It rambled all over the place, and nobody had a clue of what he was talking about.”
• Susan Ferrechio contributed to this report.
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