For months former New Jersey Chris Christie has vowed to take down former President Donald Trump on the debate stage, but now he’s seeking another venue to “confront” the GOP frontrunner.
Christie has repeatedly touted that he’s got the debate chops to target Trump, who remains the commanding front-runner for the Republican nomination as he makes his third straight White House run, even as he’s juggling an historic four criminal indictments, including two for attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden.
But with Trump not taking the stage in the initial GOP presidential nomination debate, Christie apparently is searching for an alternative way to make sure that the former president is not the Republican Party’s 2024 standard-bearer.
“I’m going to follow him around the country. Wherever he goes, I’ll go. And we’ll wind up talking to each other one way or other. And he knows that’s true,” Christie told host Howard Kurtz on Sunday during an interview on Fox News’ “Media Buzz.”
Christie, a vocal GOP critic of Trump, says he’ll change his schedule to follow Trump around the country, in hopes of forcing a confrontation.
“Watch me,” Christie told Fox News Digital on Tuesday, following a town hall appearance at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.
“You think I’m going to have a hard time finding Donald Trump? You think that over the course the next couple of months, I’m not going to find him and confront him someplace?” Christie said. “I was a prosecutor for seven years. It was my job to find people and confront them. So don’t worry about it, I’ll find him.”
During the Sirius XM hosted town hall, Christie said that Trump has “been pretty much hiding in the basement.”
And he elaborated that “I was talking to my staff today about how we actually execute on this. This is a guy who’s taking advantage of the fact that he lives behind the walls of private clubs and he has Secret Service protection. So what we’re going to basically have to do is go to public events of his and try to confront him. If he won’t show up at debates, then that’s what we’re going to have to do. I mean, I don’t know how else to do it. And I think if you know that’s what we need to do, then that’s what we’ll do. You can’t do some of the normal stuff. Like normally I would, you know, we’d do a press conference outside his house, but you can’t do that because he lives behind the walls of these private clubs and I wouldn’t be able to get into them.”
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung, responding to the former governor’s taunts, charged in a statement to Fox News that “Chris Christie is a stone-cold loser who spends every day on the cable news casting couch auditioning for a contributor contract whenever his joke of a campaign ends up in flames.
Christie — who is considered one of the best communicators in the GOP and was known during his tenure as Garden State governor for the kind of in-your-face politics that Trump has also mastered — has showcased that he’s best equipped among the large field of Republican White House contenders to take down Trump on the debate stage.
“I know what I’m good at. I know how to articulate an argument. I know how to make it. I know how to land it,” he told Fox News earlier this year.
Christie placed all his chips in his campaign for president seven years ago in New Hampshire. However, his campaign crashed and burned after a disappointing and distant sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, far behind Trump, who crushed the competition in the primary, boosting him towards the nomination and eventually the White House.
Christie became the first among the other GOP 2016 contenders to endorse Trump and for years was a top outside adviser to the then-president and chaired Trump’s high-profile commission on opioids. However, the two had a falling out after Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Biden. In the past two years, Christie has become one of the harshest Trump critics in the Republican Party.
As he runs for the White House a second time, Christie is once again concentrating his efforts in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
Christie has seen his poll numbers edge up in New Hampshire this summer, but he and the rest of the field of contenders remain far behind Trump.