Home News Christie Drops Out, Blasts Other Trump Rivals As Cowards

Christie Drops Out, Blasts Other Trump Rivals As Cowards


Christie is out.
Photo: Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Chris Christie folded his 2024 presidential candidacy Wednesday at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, the one state where he had gained some traction in his crusade to stop Donald Trump’s renomination. The withdrawal came as a surprise if only because the day before he had called New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu a “liar” for suggesting it might happen. But it had become clear in recent weeks that the most generally unpopular candidate in the field had no chance of catching up with Nikki Haley in the Granite State and was simply splitting the non-Trump vote to the benefit of his nemesis.

Christie’s own explanation was simply that he saw no path to victory, which is absolutely an accurate assessment of his situation. The RealClearPolitics polling averages for New Hampshire showed the former governor of New Jersey at 12 percent, 17 points behind Haley and 31 points behind Trump. Nationally, he’s in fifth place, at an anemic 3.5 percent.

By dropping out before the Iowa caucuses (in which he never seriously competed), Christie saved himself from the immense pressure he would have come under to quit in the event Haley did well enough there to give her some New Hampshire momentum. And, without question, Christie’s departure from the race will help Haley: A new CNN–University of New Hampshire poll showed that 65 percent of Christie’s supporters in the state would vote for Haley, the former South Carolina governor, if he weren’t on the ballot. But he didn’t endorse Haley and may not unless she promises not to become Trump’s running mate down the road:

It seems Christie also has a low opinion of Haley’s political skills. He was caught backstage at his event on a hot mic saying, “She’s going to get smoked, you and I both know this. She’s not up to this.” Ron DeSantis quickly pounced on that remark:

Aside from further winnowing the field, Christie’s self-defenestration means that Trump probably won’t face any categorical opposition from rivals going forward. In the very first candidate debate, Haley and DeSantis promised to back Trump as the nominee even if he is convicted of a felony (a moment that Christie recalled in his remarks today), and also to pardon him upon becoming president themselves (needless to say, Trump mini-me Vivek Ramaswamy, whose candidacy is also circling the drain, won’t go after the former president). And indeed, Christie’s rejection of Trump as someone he could even vote for in a general election could make him continuously radioactive to other Republicans. He doesn’t seem to mind. “Being booed for telling the truth is a badge of honor,” he said in Windham, New Hampshire.

But in quitting the race, Christie had the satisfaction of accusing Trump-fearing Republicans of making the same mistake he made upon endorsing the mogul in 2016 while knowing his flaws. “That’s not leadership … that’s cowardice,” he said. “Anyone who is unwilling to say that [Trump] is unfit to be president is unfit themselves to be president of the United States.” So don’t hold your breath waiting for Christie to climb aboard anyone’s bandwagon.

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