Chris Christie, the previous governor of New Jersey who was eclipsed by Donald J. Trump within the 2016 presidential primaries, introduced on Tuesday that he would search the 2024 Republican nomination, organising a rematch with the previous president and increasing the sector of G.O.P. candidates.
In making a second run for the presidency, Mr. Christie, 60, has positioned himself because the particular person most prepared to assault each Mr. Trump, his former friend turned adversary, and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has been in second place in almost each public Republican main ballot for months.
Mr. Christie, who declared his run on Tuesday night at a town-hall-style occasion in New Hampshire, set himself other than all different Republicans operating by going straight after Mr. Trump. He referred to as him “a bitter, offended man,” stated his document in workplace was a failure and, in an unusually private assault, accused Mr. Trump and relations of profiting off the presidency, referring to an investment from the Saudi crown prince.
“The grift from this household is breathtaking,” Mr. Christie stated. “It’s breathtaking. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Kushner stroll out of the White Home and months later get $2 billion from the Saudis?”
“That’s your cash he stole,” he continued, including, “That makes us a banana republic.”
Over greater than two hours, Mr. Christie additionally chided different Republicans within the race as being too timid to criticize Mr. Trump by identify. Describing a latest look in Iowa of different 2024 hopefuls, he mocked their euphemistic swipes on the former president. “‘We want a frontrunner who seems to be ahead, not backwards,’” Mr. Christie stated, his voice dripping sarcasm. “I get it! You’re speaking about the best way the 2020 election was stolen. And also you gained’t say it wasn’t stolen.”
In earlier appearances, Mr. Christie has referred to as Mr. Trump a loser due to his 2020 defeat, and stated that he was unfit to return to the White Home after inciting a mob to assault the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Christie has stated that if Mr. Trump is the nominee, he is not going to vote for him.
Nonetheless, with polls exhibiting Mr. Christie to be essentially the most unpopular 2024 candidate amongst Republican voters, the existential query for his race is, Who will he attraction to?
The viewers on Tuesday, on the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, seemed to be virtually completely unbiased voters. Registered Republicans have been arduous to search out. In interviews, virtually everybody disapproved of Mr. Trump, which urged that Mr. Christie might activate a small however passionate group of supporters.
“He’s a really succesful man,” Paul R. Kfoury Sr., a retired choose from Bedford, N.H., stated of the previous governor. “Very centrist. Not a right-wing nut like so a lot of them, frankly, if I could also be candid.” However he was skeptical of Mr. Christie’s probabilities in his celebration. “It’s a heavy elevate,” he stated.
New Hampshire’s many independents might play an important position within the 2024 Republican main as a result of there may be unlikely to be a aggressive Democratic race.
Carolyn Cicciu, 77, from Goffstown, N.H., voted for Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020 “as a result of I had no alternative,” she stated. Now, she stated she had considerations about Mr. Biden’s age.
“No matter candidate I select, I need it to be anyone that’s not so partisan that they will’t see what’s good concerning the different facet’s place,” added Ms. Cicciu, a retired middle-school trainer.
Mr. Christie has stated he sees a path to the nomination and isn’t operating merely as a “paid murderer” to tackle Mr. Trump for the advantage of different candidates.
On Tuesday, he cited political punditry about his candidacy in a mocking voice: “Christie doesn’t actually care about profitable, all he cares about is destroying Trump,” he stated. Then he added: “How are these two issues mutually unique?”
“Let me be very clear,” he stated. “I’m going on the market to take out Donald Trump, however right here’s why: I’ll win. And I don’t need him to win.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Christie’s path to securing the nomination is difficult. He’s a northeastern Republican who has not been enmeshed within the tradition wars of the Trump period. His fundamental path would essentially be by New Hampshire, a state the place he waged a fierce marketing campaign in 2016 however in the end got here up brief. And to realize traction, he might want to depend on consideration from candidate debates.
His marketing campaign will rely closely on media protection and a nimbleness to journey to locations the place that’s likeliest. New Hampshire is the state the place he’ll start his marketing campaign, however not essentially the place he’ll hunker down.
He nonetheless wants to satisfy the standards set by the Republican Nationwide Committee to get on that debate stage, which incorporates 40,000 distinctive donors.
But if he makes it, as a onetime buddy of Mr. Trump, he has a eager understanding of the previous president and the best way to get underneath his pores and skin. Relying on how the race goes, Mr. Christie’s fundamental impression could possibly be in badly damaging Mr. Trump, whom he has been attacking with gusto. However he has been inspired by numerous Republican donors and senior officers in latest weeks, notably as Mr. DeSantis stumbled earlier than even changing into a proper candidate.
Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor, will likely be in a novel place to assault Mr. Trump’s varied authorized travails, as he’s the primary former president to be indicted and is dealing with the potential for added indictments in different circumstances.
Nonetheless, Mr. Christie will face questions on his conversion from Trump supporter to detractor. (Mr. Trump, after leaving workplace, referred to Mr. Christie as “an opportunist.”)
Mr. Christie was a favourite of some Republicans to run for the nomination within the 2012 marketing campaign, when he was one of many nation’s most well-known governors, identified for tangling with union leaders and promoting himself as realizing the best way to steadiness a finances. However as an alternative of operating that yr, whereas his star was rising, he selected to concentrate on operating for re-election, receiving nationwide consideration for his response throughout the devastating Hurricane Sandy — and criticism from some Republicans for showing with President Barack Obama in New Jersey days earlier than the election at an occasion associated to the storm’s aftermath.
The anger amongst Republicans presaged a political surroundings through which Republicans punished their elected officers for comity with Democrats.
By the point Mr. Christie introduced he was operating for president in 2015, his candidacy had been hobbled by the so-called Bridgegate political revenge scandal that swamped his administration two years earlier. Mr. Christie denied involvement within the alleged payback scheme involving closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge to get again at a political opponent of the governor, and convictions in opposition to two defendants have been overturned in 2020 by the U.S. Supreme Court docket. However by then, Mr. Christie’s political fortunes had been broken.
Requested by an attendee on Tuesday about his greatest mistake in public life, he cited Bridgegate. With out accepting direct duty, he referred to as it a “fraternity prank” by individuals who reported to him. “It price me so much,” he stated. “It price me credibility. It humiliated me.”
After dropping out of the 2016 race, Mr. Christie endorsed Mr. Trump that February, one of many first outstanding nationwide Republicans to take action. That endorsement was precious to Mr. Trump as he tried to attraction to Republicans who have been skeptical of him over his feedback calling for a ban on Muslims getting into the nation, or his misogynistic statements concerning the Fox Information host Megyn Kelly.