Jan 10, 2024 - Politics & Policy

"Cheapest S.O.B.": Flashback to Christie's many attacks on Trump

Donald Trump (L) speaks with Chris Christie (R) on Oct. 26, 2017, in the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: JIM Watson/AFP via Getty Images

As former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the 2024 presidential race Wednesday, he continued to take digs at the Republican frontrunner and his onetime ally, former President Trump.

The big picture: Christie throughout his campaign tried to position himself as the clear alternative to the Trumpism he once supported.

Flashback: Christie was one of the first top Republicans to back Trump in the 2016 presidential race after the reality TV star emerged as the frontrunner.

  • He even coached Trump to debate now-President Biden during the 2020 campaign.

Driving the news: The former New Jersey governor called out Trump's criminal indictments in his speech Wednesday, and lamented his repugnance at the GOP frontrunner.

  • "The phrase Make America Great Again, has always offended me, because it implies that America wasn't great," Christie said.

Zoom out: Christie repeatedly took aim at Trump during the four GOP presidential debates, which Trump did not attend, and he criticized his GOP opponents for not standing up to the former president.

  • "I am the cavalry," Christie said in November. "That's the biggest reason I got in the race. ... I was like, no one's gonna take him on."

Anti-Trump campaign focus

In his first television ad of the GOP primary last month, Christie portrayed himself as the only candidate willing to stand up to Trump.

  • The ad bashes Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for attacking each other rather than Trump.
  • After scenes of DeSantis and Haley attack ads against one another, the video's narrator says: "Chris Christie is the only one who can beat Trump because he's the only one trying to beat Trump."

Of note: In another recent campaign ad Christie tried to win over voters who, like himself, backed Trump in the past and now are wary or disillusioned.

  • "Eight years ago when I decided to endorse Donald Trump for president, I did it because he was winning, and I did it because I thought I could make him a better candidate and a better president," Christie said in the ad, speaking directly to the camera.
  • "Well, I was wrong, I made a mistake," he said.

"The cheapest S.O.B. I've ever met"

Christie has criticized Trump for reportedly diverting 2024 campaign donations into a political action committee that he has used to pay his legal fees.

  • Trump is "the cheapest S.O.B. I've ever met in my life," Christie told POLITICO in June.
  • "This is a billionaire who refused to pay his lawyers with his own personal money, and instead, men and women out there who believe in him and wanted [him] to be elected president are donating money to try to forward his candidacy … and he's diverting that money to pay his own legal fees," Christie said.

GOP failures

Christie has blamed Trump for GOP failures in the past elections, saying voters "rejected crazy" in the 2022 midterms and that Republicans lost because of bad candidates.

  • Republicans lost in 2018, 2020 and 2022, Christie said at the time pointing the blame to Trump as the one constant who weighed the party down across all three election cycles.
  • He also criticized Trump for picking his candidates based purely on loyalty.

The other side: Trump has also taken aim at Christie on several occasions since their falling out, including mocking the former New Jersey governor about his weight last year.

  • On Wedneday, Trump wrote on Truth Social, "I hear Chris Christie is dropping out of the race today — I might even get to like him again!"

Go deeper: Chris Christie caught on hot mic saying Nikki Haley is going to get "smoked"

Go deeper