Trump’s “fragile ego” is the emphasis of former New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s current presidential campaign. Christie claims that the upheaval after the 2020 election and the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were caused by Trump.
Christie thinks Trump never had proof that the election was stolen, making him responsible for everything that’s transpired since. He argues that Trump’s egocentricity helped elect Joe Biden as president and that Trump, even if he obtains the Republican candidacy in 2024, would lose the general election.
For the most of his campaign since February, New Hampshire has been Christie’s only stop. He feels it will end his campaign if he doesn’t do well in New Hampshire. Christie is banking on the Granite State’s staunchly nonpartisan electorate to vouch for his candidacy and propel him into the race.
Polls show that Christie is closing the gap with Trump, but he is still far behind in the first nominating state of Iowa and nationally. Christie is attempting to “break late” in the state in the same manner that previous contenders like Arizona Senator John McCain did in 2000. He drove throughout the state with only a driver and two aides and has virtually no staff in New Hampshire.
During his first visit to New Hampshire, Christie amplified his attacks on the former president, comparing him to a dictator and predicting the outcome of future criminal charges against him. He also poked fun at Trump’s eccentricities, mocking the former president for his penchant for TV news and well-done hamburgers.
However, Christie’s most significant opportunity to personally face Trump on the debate stage has been taken away from him. Trump did not attend the first debate and is also not expected to attend the second debate at the end of the month in California. Christie has been preparing to meet him outside as he enters the event, confront him as he leaves, or attend the event herself.
The super PAC backing Christie’s run, Tell It Like It Is PAC, quickly adopted the New Hampshire-or-bust strategy, devoting almost all of its advertising budget of about $1 million to the Granite State. More and more people attended Christie’s engagements as he traveled throughout New Hampshire, with over 150 people showing up to a gym without air conditioning in Bedford. His anti-Trump broadsides were often met with applause from his audiences.
Many say that “Anti-Trump” is not a policy and that Christie’s messaging will have to be more about how he would govern and less about finger-pointing.