HENNIKER, N.H. (AP) — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered his opening arguments against Donald Trump on Thursday, sounding like the prosecutor he once was and the presidential candidate he might become again.
“Tonight is the beginning of the case against Donald Trump,” Christie said in New Hampshire, where he devoted his entire opening remarks at a town hall meeting to pounding on the former president he once supported.
“You’re not going to beat someone by closing your eyes, clicking your heels together three times and saying, ‘There’s no place like home.’ That’s not going to work,” he said. “In American politics you want to beat somebody? You have to go get them.”
Christie called out several Republican candidates and potential candidates — including former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — for barely uttering Trump’s name and argued that Trump’s policy and character failures would only grow if he returns to office.
“Donald Trump is a TV star, nothing more, nothing less,” he said. “Let me suggest to you that in putting him back in the White House, the reruns will be worse than the original show.”
As he nears a decision on his own campaign, Christie is spending two days in the state where he finished a dismal sixth place in the 2016 GOP primary. He endorsed Trump soon after dropping out of that year’s race and later worked on his presidential transition team. In 2020, he worked with Trump on his debate prep against Joe Biden but broke with Trump after he refused to accept his loss of the election and spurred the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Since then, Christie has emerged as one of the few prominent GOP Trump critics, largely via his position as an ABC political analyst.
He said Thursday he won’t stand by and let Trump win.
“If I decide to run, I’ll be able to try to do something directly about it. And if I don’t, then I’ll be still on ABC-TV every Sunday,” he said.