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Chris Christie Takes on Trump: Presidential Campaign Begins

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie commenced his presidential campaign in New Hampshire on Tuesday, presenting himself as a tenacious fighter uniquely qualified to challenge his onetime ally, Donald Trump. In a spirited two-hour town hall held at St. Anselm College, Christie wasted no time launching a scathing attack on the former president, accusing him of self-obsession and detrimental actions that have diminished America's global standing. Christie's decision to reenter the presidential race stems from his concerns that the United States is experiencing a historic decline, characterized by a shrinking presence, increasing fragmentation, and growing divisions.

Delivering a forceful critique, Christie asserted, "We've had leaders who have led us to being small—small by their example, small by the way they conduct themselves, small by the things they tell us we should care about." He went on to emphasize, "Donald Trump made us smaller by dividing us even further and pitting one group against another." Christie's return to the political arena comes over seven years after ending his initial presidential campaign and swiftly endorsing Trump. However, he now enters the race as a long-shot candidate in a Republican field where the former president has already established a substantial lead. Supporters of Christie highlight his direct and sharp-witted style as distinguishing qualities that will enable him to shake up the race by forcefully challenging Trump and capturing voters' attention.

Nevertheless, polls indicate that Christie is viewed unfavorably by many Republicans, underscoring the uphill battle he faces. Furthermore, prominent figures within the party, who have openly criticized Trump from a more traditional GOP standpoint in recent years, have encountered rejection in party primaries. Christie's entry into the race coincides with a busy week of Republican campaign launches, including former vice president Mike Pence and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who plan to formally announce their candidacies on Wednesday. Some Republicans perceive the crowded field as advantageous to Trump, as it fragments support among his competitors.

In New Hampshire, a pivotal state for Christie's electoral prospects, the former governor initiated a comprehensive dismantling of Trump's unfulfilled promises. He highlighted Trump's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare and pointed out that attendees at recent Trump rallies might mistakenly believe that the former president had successfully built a wall along the entire southern border, with Mexico footing the bill. While Christie and his advisors contend that the key to victory lies in directly challenging Trump, the Republican electorate has thus far displayed little inclination for such a candidacy.

Recent surveys consistently show Trump holding double-digit leads over his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, while other contenders, including Christie, have struggled to garner significant support, polling in the single digits or registering minimal backing.



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