Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie kicked off his presidential campaign Tuesday night, vowing to be the only candidate in a crowded GOP primary field willing to go head-to-head with former President Donald Trump.
Christie, who also aspired to the Presidency in 2016, began the presentation of his candidacy under the motto “Because the truth matters” with a public address in New Hampshire, where the country’s first Republican primaries will be held after the caucuses of Iowa. After losing the nomination to Trump seven years ago, the former governor and federal prosecutor became a close on-and-off adviser before breaking with the former president over his refusal to accept the 2020 election results.
“Donald Trump made us smaller by further dividing us and pitting us against each other,” Christie said, suggesting that the former president was part of a broader political effort to “paint all Republicans with one brush.”
He added that President Joe Biden “is doing the same thing, only on the other side.”
Christie enters a growing primary field that already includes Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. Former Vice President Mike Pence will formally launch his own campaign in Iowa on Wednesday.
During his tenure as governor, Christie built a reputation as a fighter with a knack for creating viral confrontational moments. But he faces an uphill battle for the nomination in a party that remains closely aligned with the former president, despite Trump’s 2020 re-election loss and Republicans faring worse than expected in the midterms. term of office of 2022.
Christie has become a fierce critic of Trump in recent years and now presents himself as the only Republican presidential candidate willing to openly confront the former president, while warning that if the party does not fully confront him, the primaries will be repeated. of the 2016 Republican Party, when Trump bypassed a series of more politically experienced alternatives that split the support of voters who opposed him.
Going head-to-head against Trump
Anti-Trump Republicans are especially eager to see Christie take on Trump on a debate stage — if, of course, Trump agrees to participate in the primary debates and Christie meets the strict fundraising criteria set by the National Committee. Republican to participate.
JP Marzullo, a former state representative and former vice chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, previously supported Trump but now supports Christie.
“I think it will really unite some of the voters and reach out to independents,” Marzullo said of the former governor, adding: “I think it’s time for a change.”
Christie’s campaign will test the appetite among Republican voters for someone who has expressed support for many of Trump’s policies but criticized the former president’s conduct. The former governor has rejected Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen and has urged the party to move on or risk future losses.
To the conquest of the republican supports
Other Republicans with similar views, including former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, have chosen not to run their own campaigns, expressing concern that having more candidates in the race will only benefit Trump.
Christie was seen at one time as one of the brightest political stars in the Republican Party as the popular Republican governor of a Democratic state. But despite urging from top donors and party officials, he declined to run for president in 2012. By the time he announced it in 2016, his reputation had been tarnished by the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal, in which his aides were accused. of wreaking havoc on traffic in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in an apparent attempt to punish the city’s mayor for not supporting his re-election bid.
In the packed 2016 GOP primaries, Christie presented himself as a tough-talking East Coast man who was able to “tell it like it is,” but was upstaged by a more brash Trump.
Christie chose to start his 2024 bid in a New Hampshire town hall, recalling his first run for the White House, when he focused on the state, holding dozens of events at New Hampshire town halls only to finish sixth in his primaries. He later dropped out of the race.
Two weeks later, Christie surprised even some of his former aides by endorsing Trump, becoming the first incumbent governor and former rival to endorse the emerging GOP frontrunner. His announcement weakened his rival Marco Rubio at a crucial moment – the day after a debate that had been seen as a potential turning point in the race – helping pave the way for Trump’s nomination and eventual victory. victory of him
“The line of support for Donald Trump starts behind me,” Christie said.
The former governor, who has known Trump for nearly 20 years, has had a complicated friendship with the former real estate developer and reality star. At times, he was one of Trump’s closest advisers: he was on Trump’s shortlist for vice president, oversaw Trump’s early transition efforts to the White House, said he was offered – and turned down – multiple positions in Cabinet, and helped Trump prepare for each of his general election debates in 2016 and 2020. (It was during those debate preparations that Christie believes he contracted COVID-19, which landed him in intensive care ).
But Christie has also clashed with Trump at times and has described the former president’s refusal to accept his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden as a breaking point.
In appearances and interviews, Christie says he was “incredibly disappointed and disillusioned” by Trump’s refusal to concede, culminating in his supporters storming the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to stop Trump’s victory certification. Biden.
*With PA; adapted from its original in English
Source: France 24