Chris Christie says path to Republican nomination means going 'right through' Trump

The former New Jersey governor slammed Trump's "broken promises."

June 7, 2023, 8:09 AM

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, appearing on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, made clear that any path to the Republican nomination in 2024 means taking down former President Donald Trump.

"There's only one lane to the Republican nomination for president and Donald Trump is at the head of it and you have to go right through him and make the case against him. And that's what I intend to do," Christie said.

Christie kicked off his second presidential campaign Tuesday with a town hall-style event at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, where he pitched himself to voters as a foil to Trump.

He continued that message on Wednesday, telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that Trump and his team have "put themselves before the American people."

"That's exactly what he's done each and every time when there's been a key decision to make, and Joe Biden is show he is simply not on for the job," Christie said. "I've been tested, tested over and over again in a blue state when I was governor, a very difficult place to govern. And I know how to bring solutions to our party and, most importantly, to our country."

Further digging into Trump, Christie said his administration failed to deliver on immigration, health care and other issues.

"Broken promises like that, George, aren't acceptable anymore to the American people," Christie said. "The stakes are too high. That's the case you need to make and if you make it effectively, I think we will be the nominee."

PHOTO: Chris Christie talks about 2024 presidential campaign
Chris Christie talks about 2024 presidential campaign
ABC News

Christie is joining a crowded Republican primary field that includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Former Vice President Mike Pence announced his 2024 run in a video released early Wednesday, in which he criticized President Joe Biden and cast the country as "in trouble" but didn't mention Trump.

Early 2024 primary polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight show Christie in the low single digits, significantly behind Trump and DeSantis.

Though Christie's willingness to take on Trump directly sets him somewhat apart from the other candidates, who've so far been reluctant to openly criticize the former president and early front-runner. Christie took a jab at his opponents, likening their treatment of Trump to Voldemort, the Harry Potter villain.

But in order to appear on first debate stage in August, the Republican National Committee is requiring candidates to vow to support the eventual nominee as well as meeting certain polling and fundraising criteria.

Christie's pledged never to support Trump again.

"So will you be on the debate stage? Can you support Donald Trump, if indeed he is the Republican nominee?" Stephanopoulos asked Christie.

"I'll be on the debate stage, and I will take the pledge that the RNC puts in front of me just as seriously as Donald Trump did eight years ago," he responded. "When he signed the pledge ... and then on the first debate stage he didn't raise his hand to say he would support the nominee."

"I'm going to do whatever I need to do to save my party and save my country," Christie added. "We're going to get the 40,000 donors, at least. that you need to be on that stage. We're going to make the case directly to the American people."

Pressed on whether he'd vote for Trump if he was the party's nominee, Christie pushed back: "He's not gonna get the nomination for president because I am."