Aug 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Christie tries to shame Trump into GOP debate

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a campaign event at the Casa Cuba Restaurant on Aug. 18 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly goaded former President Trump over the first GOP presidential primary debate next week.

Driving the news: "If he believes he should be the nominee, if he believes that he's got such a great record, if he believes he's the best person to go against Joe Biden, then show up on Wednesday night and stop being such a coward," Christie said Friday in his latest criticism of the former president.

  • "If what he were saying were true, which is that he's got this great record as president and that he's so far ahead, why wouldn't you come on to the stage and take a victory lap," he said on MSNBC.

Trump, who has not yet said publicly whether he will participate in the Aug. 23 debate, wrote on his Truth Social late Thursday: "People know my Record, one of the BEST EVER, so why would I Debate?"

  • Trump said last week that he would announce this week whether he'll attend the first debate, but he has not yet done so.
  • A spokesperson for Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: Christie, once a close Trump ally, has sparred repeatedly with the former president and they have both lobbed insults at one another throughout the campaign.

  • Nine Republican presidential candidates have appeared to hit the polling requirement and donor threshold to qualify for next week's debate.

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