2024 GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie criticized fellow Republican candidates Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for not more directly taking on former President Trump — who has maintained a sizable lead in the primary for months.
“I am the only candidate running against Donald Trump. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis seem to be running against each other for second place. Good for them,” Christie, the former New Jersey governor, said in a Wednesday interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
Christie invoked the two candidates’ responses at the most recent debate about how they plan on winning over Trump voters, suggesting the two candidates do not even appear to be running against the former president.
“But you know when Nikki Haley stands on the stage on Wednesday night and says Donald Trump was the right president for the right time. When Ron DeSantis continues to defend Donald Trump. You cannot beat someone unless you run against them,” Christie continued.
“And the only path to the Republican nomination for president is not around Donald Trump or next to Donald Trump. It is through Donald Trump,” Christie said. “And the fact is, I’m the only person who’s willing to do that. I’m the only person with the guts and the experience to be able to do it. And you and I both know why Donald Trump’s not on that debate stage. It’s because I am.”
Christie’s campaign has centered on attacking Trump and highlighting what Christie perceives to be the danger of Trump returning to the White House. Other candidates, however, have been more cautious in their approach, deliberately trying not to turn off Trump supporters while still making the case that they should win the nomination over the former president.
While Haley and DeSantis are the two main rivals to Trump’s bid for the GOP nomination, it is not clear they can make a dent in Trump’s loyal base.