Chris Christie aims to shape the future of the Republican Party and itself

Chris Christie aims to shape the future of the Republican Party and itself

New York – Chris Christie is everywhere.

The former New Jersey governor and onetime Republican presidential candidate denounced “conspiracy theorists” during his September appearance at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. He followed it up with a speech this month to influential Republicans in Las Vegas, warning that the party would only succeed if it presented “a plan for tomorrow, not grievance from yesterday.”

In between, everyone interviewed Laura Ingraham on Fox News to David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, on CNN.

On the face of it, Christie’s ad campaign serves up Republican Bailout, his new book that offers a simple recipe for his party: Stop talking nonsense about 2020 and focus on the future — or keep losing the election. But the frenetic pace of his appearances and increasingly pronounced punches on Donald Trump suggest that Christie is plotting a political comeback with the 2024 campaign in mind.

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In a recent interview, Christie said he hasn’t made a decision yet about his political future and will only do so after next year’s election. But he was outspoken in saying that he would run if he thought he could be elected.

“If I see a path to victory,” he said, “I will run.” “And I feel like I have the skills, talent, and ability to make a difference in our party and in the country. And I’m definitely, at 59, not ready to retire. But I wouldn’t if I couldn’t find a way to win. That’s why I’m not making any decisions now.”

One of the biggest questions hanging over the 2024 campaign is whether Trump will run again. If the former president did, polls suggest he would easily win the nomination. But until the decision is made, Christie tests the openness of GOP voters to someone who largely supports Trump’s record but rejects Trump’s lies that the last election was stolen.

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It’s an approach that pits him against other Republicans who might run in 2024, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who have taken prominent stands against Trump.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former secretary of state, have positioned themselves as fierce Trump loyalists. Former Vice President Mike Pence has tried to find a compromise, highlighting his work alongside Trump, but noting that the two have different views on the circumstances surrounding the January 6 rebellion at the US Capitol.

With candidates largely storming the pro- and anti-Trump camps, “there is something to being on a singular path that actually supports some of President Trump’s policies but at the same time doesn’t hesitate to criticize where Christie disagrees,” said Adam Gellar, a Republican pollster for some time. Long served on Christie’s two winning campaigns in New Jersey as well as Christie’s 2016 presidential bid, followed by the Trump campaign.

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Others aren’t quite sure, arguing that Christie sided with Trump until it was no longer politically appropriate.

“He’s clearly a disingenuous,” said Tim Miller, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and an outspoken critic of Trump. “Chris Christie empowered Donald Trump perhaps more than anyone else in founding the Republican Party. Now he wants to get famous by saying something that is true but without any thought about what he did to get us here.”

Christie and Trump’s relationship has been complicated during the nearly 20 years that they have been “friends”.

As an American attorney, Christie successfully prosecuted the father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump and Christie were fierce contenders for the Republican nomination in 2016. After Christie withdrew from the race, he became the first major elected official to endorse Trump, a move that legitimized the president’s eventual campaign.

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“Donald Trump’s line of support starts from behind me,” Christie recently told Ingraham.

Christie stood alongside Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the run-up to the 2016 Trump debate and was rewarded for his loyalty by putting him in charge of the presidential transition. But after the election, Christie was fired from that role in a move seen as retaliation for the elder Kushner’s trial. However, Christie eventually found his way into Trump’s inner circle, where he chaired the Administration’s Committee on Opioid Abuse, served as an informal counselor and once again helped prepare for the debate last year.

But Christie describes Trump’s reaction to the 2020 election, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden, as a breaking point. In appearances and interviews, Christie said he was “incredibly disappointed and disappointed” by Trump’s refusal to compromise on the election, which culminated in his followers storming the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to halt endorsement of Biden’s victory.

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Christie now argues that the party must disavow Trump’s lies and transcend his grievances if it is to succeed. He says voters “want reason and want common sense”.

As Republicans, we need to free ourselves from the endless sands of grievances. We need to turn our attention to the future and stop fidgeting in the past. We need to face the realities of the 2020 election and learn — not hide — from them,” he wrote in the book, calling on the party to weed out conspiracies and focus on providing voters with a positive alternative to democratic politics.

Trump began to respond. In a statement released this month, the former president said Christie was “totally killed by his statements that Republicans should walk away from the past.”

Christie refused to respond. “Anyone can say whatever they want. Those are my opinions. That’s what I believe in,” he says, already thinking about how the 2024 campaign might look different from 2016. His previous show was heavy on town hall-style events aimed at voters In New Hampshire, home of the country’s first presidential primary. Kristi finished sixth there.

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He said in the interview that the second campaign will be different.

“You won’t just see me walking around there. One of the things I learned, when I first ran, is that movement is not progress,” he said. “I’m going to be very deliberate about what I do, both in the lead up to the decision, and then certainly if I decide to run, in how I’m running a campaign and trying to make all the time I do really count.”

For now, Christie appears to be enjoying the interest of returning to the political game after a hiatus that included a bout with COVID-19 that sent him to the intensive care unit. He’s working on a second book focused on “unifying the country,” co-chairs a national Republican group focused on redistricting strategy, and serves as a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association, a group he once led, giving him access to some of the party’s most important donors. .

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It’s too early to talk about a race yet, said GOP strategist Mike Dohemy and a longtime Christie’s advisor who worked on Christie’s 2016 campaign.

“You can only manage so much,” he said. “And there are so many other factors that are beyond our control that you kind of have to say what you think and do what you think is right.”

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