Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got lots of laughs at the expense of ex-President Donald Trump while lamenting the current state of national politics at an upstate business convention Thursday night.
“We have a former president of the United States who [went] on national television last night and said ‘I declassified the documents thinking about it,'” Christie said, mocking Trump’s defense against allegations that he illegally took classified documents from the White House.
“Imagine all I could have accomplished if I only knew that I didn’t actually have to do it. I just had to think about it — this is a credible candidate for 2024,” Christie, a two-term governor and former US attorney, added to laughter.
The comments are the latest in a series of clashes between the former political allies. Trump mocked Christie’s weight in a widely shared post on his Truth Social media platform after Christie said last Sunday that Trump’s handling of top-secret docs left the FBI with “no choice” but to raid Trump’s Florida home.
“There is a sector of our party, which cannot find themselves genetically unable to not defend Donald Trump,” Christie said at another point in his hour-long address while criticizing fellow Republicans for backing the ex-president’s evidence-free claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“This is a disaster. It’s bad for the country,” Christie added.
The Garden State pol, who once led Trump’s transition team to the White House, landed a barrage of zingers on other pols as well, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom — “his hair is ready to be president” — and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom Christie dismissed as “the soup of the day.”
Christie, now a political analyst for ABC News, said voters in upcoming midterm elections will have to choose between Democrats — whom he described as out of touch on issues like bail reform — and Republicans, whose ongoing allegiance to Trump endangers their chances of capturing control of the House and Senate this November.
“We have nominated some really interesting characters,” Christie said about controversial GOP Senate candidates in states like Arizona, New Hampshire and New Jersey.
“I defend Dr. [Mehmet] Oz because he is a longtime New Jerseyan — problem is he’s running in Pennsylvania,” Christie quipped about the celebrity doctor’s chances against Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
Christie did not include New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on his list of Democratic governors he thinks are in danger of losing this November, but said the race could turn in Republicans’ favor if the political stars align before the final votes are cast on Nov. 8.
But his thoughts returned to Trump as he concluded his address with some thoughts on how his rival’s social media habits enable behavior that would not otherwise be possible.
“He doesn’t have the guts to fire somebody face-to-face,” Christie said of the “Apprentice” star.
“He has fired two chiefs of staff on Twitter and a number of other cabinet members. Because that you’ll do all by yourself sitting alone in your room staring at your phone. And you could call them any name you want,” he added.