Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced on Tuesday that he’s running for president, setting up a rematch against former President Trump in 2024.
While speaking in the Granite State, Christie took jabs at President Biden and former President Trump. He said that Trump “made us smaller” for pitting groups against each other and arguing Biden was doing the same thing as he painted Republicans “with just one brush.”
He went on to criticize Trump even more, saying a “lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog is not a leader” and comparing him to “Voldemort,” the villain in the “Harry Potter” series.
“Let me be clear, in case I have not been already — the person I am talking about who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault and who always find someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong but finds every reason to take credit for anything that goes right is Donald Trump,” Christie said.
He also took an implicit jab at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over some of his previous comments on Ukraine and Russia, in which he called the international conflict a “territorial dispute.”
“All throughout our history, there have been moments when we’ve had to choose between big and small. And I would tell you, the reason I’m here tonight is because this is one of those moments, and you see it everywhere,” Christie said. “We have candidates for president who say we shouldn’t care about what’s happening in Ukraine. We shouldn’t care that Russia wants to take a free and freedom0loving country and put it back under its thumb.”
Christie’s launch, which he made official during a town hall at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, comes after he filed paperwork earlier on Tuesday declaring his candidacy.
The onetime Trump ally has positioned himself as the former president’s chief antagonist in the race. Unlike most other Republican presidential candidates, Christie has been explicit in his bid to take Trump head on.
“It’s like he’s Voldemort,” the former New Jersey governor said in New Hampshire earlier this year. “You’re not going to beat someone by closing your eyes, clicking your heels together three times and saying there’s no place like home.”
Still, Christie’s considered a longshot in the GOP primary field. The former president is widely viewed as the frontrunner, with national surveys showing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) polling in second.
Though Republicans are skeptical that Christie’s anti-Trump approach will gain enough traction with voters to notch him the GOP presidential nomination, they acknowledge that his pugilistic nature has the ability to impact the standing of other candidates.
The former New Jersey governor is also considered an unknown variable in the race because of his previous experience debating Trump in 2016 and his past work helping the former president in 2020 with debate prep, giving him unique insight into Trump that no other candidate will have.