The former New Jersey governor, vying in a crowded field for the GOP nomination, has set his sights on an on-camera showdown with the former president. The topic? Mr Trump’s many criminal allegations and other criticisms of his leadership after January 6.
But Mr Trump has not acquiesced, instead vowing not to participate in a scheduled set of Republican debates featuring his many challengers. The ex-president, who currently leads the race for the nomination with the support of as many as half of GOP voters in many polls, views the race as largely decided — and has no intent of changing that by giving his enemies an opportunity.
Mr Christie, in an interview that aired Sunday on Fox’s MediaBuzz, vowed not to let his opponent off that easy.
“I’m sure he’s not coming to the Reagan debate. We’ll give him another chance in Alabama,” Mr Christie said, referencing another upcoming scheduled matchup of the GOP field.
“But if he doesn’t come there, then I’m going to follow him around the country,” vowed the former governor. “Wherever he goes, I’ll go. And we’ll wind up talking to each other one way or another.”
It was a bold promise that appears to hinge on Mr Trump’s image as a brawler unafraid to back down from his rivals. Mr Christie likely has no shot of forcing Mr Trump, who sets his own campaign schedule and is protected by round-the-clock Secret Service protection, into some kind of public situation where both men and a camera crew are present. He could, however, goad the ex-president into making an appearance at an upcoming debate by seeking to convince Republican voters that Mr Trump has become afraid of facing critics.
Mr Christie trails far behind Mr Trump in polling of the GOP field, as do all other candidates for the nomination. The ex-governor has put much of his time into campaigning in New Hampshire in the hopes of scoring an early primary season upset against other Republicans in the field and potentially even Mr Trump himself.
On his Truth Social platform, Mr Trump has responded by ridiculing the ex-governor over personal issues. In addition to Mr Christie, his former debate coach, Mr Trump faces primary challenges from his former vice president as well as his former UN ambassador.
Unlike other Republicans, Mr Christie has been adamant in his defence of the Department of Justice’s criminal investigations into Mr Trump over both his allegedly illegal retention of classified materials and the ex-president’s attempts to change the 2020 election results. He has, however, spoken out against a criminal indictment charging Mr Trump dozens of times over a 2016 porn star hush money scheme.
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