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Christie on Trump: ‘Turns out I was wrong’


Christie on Trump: ‘Turns out I was wrong’

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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday he was “wrong” about former President Donald Trump, whom he twice supported and advised ahead of the 2020 election.

“Turns out I was wrong. I couldn’t make him a better candidate and I couldn’t make him a better president, and he disappointed me,” Christie told News Portal Space’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead,” calling election night 2020 “the breaking point.”

Christie, who announced his 2024 campaign on Tuesday, is putting attacks on the former president – currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination – at the center of his campaign.

Asked about the federal investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents, which appears to be nearing its final stages, Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said the retention of classified information would be a “big problem.”

“The classified documents that he had – that we now know he had – were things that should have never left the White House. And if he, in fact, knew that he had these documents, was looking at them, utilizing them in some way after he left the office – and it looks like maybe even two years after he left office – it’s a big problem.”

Christie is part of a crowded field that includes Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. Former Vice President Mike Pence and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum both announced their bids on Wednesday.

Christie told Tapper that 2024 is a different atmosphere from 2016, when Christie first ran against Trump and Trump cruised to the nomination by splitting a crowded field. This time, Christie argued, Trump has a political record to run against.

“On promises both big and small, he broke them. He disappointed our party. He disappointed the country, and that’s going to be the focus of this campaign,” he said.

He called out Trump for failing to say in a News Portal Space town hall who he thinks should prevail in Russia’s war against Ukraine, and DeSantis for initially calling the conflict a “territorial dispute” – a comment the Florida governor later attempted to walk back.

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“They’re wrong. This is a proxy war with China,” Christie said.

“It’s very clear what we need to do. We need to give the Ukrainians every piece of military hardware they need to protect themselves against this aggression, and we need to continue to do it until they are ready to resolve the conflict with Russia,” he added.

Christie said he makes “no apologies” for having aided Trump in the past. “But when I make a misjudgment, I’ll admit it.”

His current disdain for Trump’s conduct extends to the personal. Reacting to a Trump video mocking his weight, Christie said, “It just renewed in my own mind what a child he is. He’s a baby.”

“I think character is destiny for this country, and we’ve got to make a decision about what the character of the person should be who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office,” he told Tapper.

Christie himself is no stranger to scandal. “Bridgegate” engulfed him during his second term as governor. Emails and texts from top aides showed that the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013, which caused massive traffic jams, stemmed from a political vendetta after the town’s Democratic mayor declined to endorse Christie’s gubernatorial reelection.

A federal investigation determined that Christie had no knowledge of the decision to close the lanes, but the scandal continued to follow the former governor.

Asked Wednesday what he learned from the episode, Christie said, “That personnel is policy. That you have to be even more careful that there’s no insignificant appointment, no insignificant hire, because that person acts in your name every day.”

The former New Jersey governor is set to participate in a News Portal Space town hall on Monday in New York, where he’ll take questions from News Portal Space’s Anderson Cooper and a live audience comprised of Republicans from the first four GOP nominating states as well as from voters in New Jersey and New York who say they plan to vote in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

This story has been updated with more comments from Christie.

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