To Sell Books, Christie Is Pretending To Be Running For President
No one talks about Christie's traffic jam any longer-- except Trump. The two former pals kind of hate each other now and Christie is making noises about running against Trump in 2024. Does that sound as nuts to you as it does to me? Matt Stieb at New York Magazine was happy to outline the parameters of a match between the two of them that will never happen. "It began at a donor event last Saturday," he wrote, "when Christie cited Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia and Jack Ciattarelli's closer-than-expected finish in New Jersey as evidence that the Republican Party needs to move beyond false allegations of 2020 election fraud and toward a message 'that doesn’t hurt their ears.' Trump responded on his weird little Twitter for one, disagreeing with Christie and digging at his past performance: 'Everybody remembers that Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9% approval rating-- a record low, and they didn’t want to hear this from him!''
Christie may be right about part of the ole country club crowd but the Trumpist/Fox/Hate Talk Radio base are rabid animals who want nothing but violence and pain and are delighted Trump is lying and fighting like a mad dog, which makes them feel better about who they are. Christie, continued Stieb, "promotes a campaign book with a subtitle condemning 'truth deniers' and 'conspiracy theorists.' In an interview with Axios airing on Sunday, Christie also noted that during his gubernatorial reelection in 2013, he got 60 percent of the vote. But Trump? 'When he ran for reelection, he lost to Joe Biden,' Christie said. 'I’m happy to have that comparison stand up, because that’s the one that really matters.'"
It’s probably unwise for Christie to go head-to-head with a figure who had an 86 percent approval rating last month among Republican voters. But it’s especially short-sighted to do so with Trump, who tends to win political squabbles with Christie and other GOP pols at his level. Lest he forget, the former governor was so utterly defeated in the 2016 primary that he had to hold a press conference saying he “wasn’t being held hostage” when he stood behind Trump to endorse him after his dominant Super Tuesday in 2016. Surely he hasn’t forgotten getting kicked off the transition team after doing all the work, for the reported reason that he tried to get in the frame on election night and the more public reason that the president-elect’s son-in-law hated his guts.
Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Cartwright and Andrew Kirell were given an advance of Republican Rescue, Christie's new book, due out next week, and unlikely to cause much of a stir. The two writes remind us that in 2018, when Christie withdrew from consideration to be Trumpanzee's third chief of staff the obviously silly excuse was two-fold: he hadn't been offered the job and he couldn't take it for family reasons. Did anyone believe that then? In the book, Christie confirms he was offered the job and the reason he turned it down was because he was concerned that Trump is notoriously unable to control his big mouth.
Bulwark acerbic writer-at-large, Tim Miller was not given an authorized advance of the book. But he didn't need one to note that it took Christie too long, if he actually expects any credibility and iff he really thinks he can successfully "resuscitate his long-dead political career," to finally stand up to Trump.
Like every other pathetic, podgy, scared, insecure bully who has ever disgraced a schoolyard, Chris Christie talks a big game. But when he was called upon to meet the biggest threat of his life-- a doughy, soft-handed trust-fund baby with authoritarian aspirations-- Christie didn’t just walk away from an argument. He waddled as fast as he could go in his urine-soaked pull-ups.
The date was February 6, 2016. The occasion was the eighth Republican primary debate in Goffstown, New Hampshire, a few days before the primary. Over the course of the first seven debates Mr. Tough Guy had not laid a single cuticle on the frontrunner, Donald Trump. While my boss at the time-- Jeb Bush-- was getting slapped around like a ragdoll by Trump’s insult comedy, Christie stood in the spot reserved for the lowest-polling candidates on the far corner of the stage, twiddling his thumbs, doing everything he could to avoid drawing Trump’s ire.
In case you’ve forgotten, New Hampshire was Christie’s last stand. If his campaign was going to go forward, he needed a strong showing in the Granite State. And so one would assume that a big, tough fighter like Christie would’ve taken Ric Flair’s sage advice-- “to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man”-- and gone right at the frontrunner rather than leave the fighting to be done by a bookish policy-wonk.
Nope. Instead, Christie surveyed the stage and decided to try and butch himself up by taking on the runt of the pack: He ignored Trump and whaled on Lil’ Marco, to the delight of many. To the delight, in fact, of Trump. Here’s Christie in his book recounting what happened at the debate when they broke for a commercial:
I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Donald Trump. Donald put his arm around me and said, “God, you destroyed him... You’re the only one who could have done that. Just remember: I haven’t said anything bad about you. Don’t go after me.”
Christie succeeded in blunting Marco’s momentum, but did nothing to boost himself. Three days later Trump went on to win New Hampshire in a rout, Marco fell to fifth, and Christie bottomed out in sixth. After which he walked away from the race without ever having even thrown an unkind glance in Trump’s general direction.
If Christie’s story of his cowardice and Trump suck-upitudde ended that night then maybe I wouldn’t have had to rage-write this column. But as we all know it did not end there.
Christie could have retired back to the Garden State and ate greasy diner food in peace. He could have joined forces with a less dangerous GOP foe and tried to help stop Trump. He could’ve joined the anti-Trump Super PAC I signed up for two days after Jeb dropped out and been our chairman. Hell he could’ve done a full heel turn and endorsed Hillary because, let’s be honest, he was always a RINO at heart.
He took none of those paths.
Desperate for attention and a campaign where he could have “influence,” Christie surveyed the field and decided that once he had been defeated the only choice was to present to his dominant and endorse Trump.
...Endorsements normally mean very little, but this one was significant, right up there with Ted Kennedy blessing Obama, because it provided the permission structure that institutionally Republican voters needed to support an unorthodox candidate.
Christie didn’t deliver a specific cohort of voters to Trump—he had just got schlonged in a primary in which he received 0 delegates. But his support gave a stamp of credibility to a thoroughly uncredible candidate. He was the first prominent “mainstream” or “establishment” Republican to take the plunge. Newt Gingrich laid this out at the time, tweeting that Christie “introducing and standing with Trump gave the event a sense of seriousness.”
So right at the moment when the Republican party needed to unite against Trump, Christie gassed the fellow up. And then he spent months solidifying Trump as the primary’s alpha male by allowing him to thoroughly debase his new pup in front of the entire country. As you might recall:
Christie stood next to Trump pliantly as he ranted and raved.
It was leaked, maybe apocryphally, that he was assigned the job of fetching Trump’s hamburgers.
He stood by as Trump told him to stop eating Oreos.
After an event in Arkansas, he obediently walked up to Trump looking for a pat on the head but instead he was shooed off and instructed to “go home.”
He weirdly referred to him throughout the campaign as “Mr. Trump,” despite the fact that he was a sitting governor and Trump was a former game-show host.
And over the ensuing months Christie sat silently by as his new daddy talked about banning Muslims, made racist accusations at the expense of judges, and insulted gold star parents. Christie maintained his endorsement even after Trump was caught on tape admitting to serial sexual assault. No one was a more loyal surrogate for a man that everyone knew was plainly unfit and dangerous.
So now, six years later, Christie wants to worm his way back into the spotlight as the guy who is willing to take the fight to Trump.
The gambit seems to have worked for the ratings-starved suckers at CNN.
But it shouldn’t fool you.
Chris Christie can make fun of Trump all he wants and I welcome that. It is nice to hear any Republican in good standing actually admit that the orange fella lost. The more converts to reality, the merrier.
But we don’t have to pair that with advancing the phony BS that Christie is the one man willing to say hard truths. Admitting Trump lost isn’t a hard truth, it’s basic reality. And Christie isn’t a tough guy. He’s the most craven of bullies.
So if one of the men chiefly responsible for Trump wants a seat on our TDS-bandwagon, he’s welcome. There’s a narrow little jumpseat in the back that he can squeeze into.
But don’t board the bus while making a speech about how you never shied away from a fight.
We all know the truth.