Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is talking to potential donors, thought leaders, staffers, and others to discuss a possible campaign for president in 2024, sources close to Christie told CNN.
Christie is in the process of making a decision and has indicated he will make one in the coming weeks.
The New Jersey Republican sees himself as the only serious GOP candidate willing to take on former President Donald. He also sees himself as a candidate who could appeal to enough independents to beat President Joe Biden in the general election, should Biden announce a reelection bid.
Christie is one of several high-profile figures mulling a bid for the Republican ticket. To this point, only Trump, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have officially announced their candidacy as others, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, continue to lay the groundwork for a run.
While Christie called a potential presidential run a “huge risk” at an event hosted by Semafor in Washington on Tuesday, he said “If it turns out that I’m on a debate stage in August of this year and Donald Trump decides to be on it, you can be sure that we’ll have some exchanges that I hope will be illuminating to the public about both him and me.”
He also defended his previous support for the former president, saying the “line was crossed” during the 2020 election when Trump said it was stolen. “There’s a difference between spinning politically to try to put yourself in a better position before the vote happens and after the vote happens to say it was ‘rigged,’” Christie said.
“No one in this country asked him to be their retribution,” Christie added of Trump. “I think a President should be our inspiration, not our retribution.”
On Trump’s indictment and abortion
Asked about Trump’s recent indictment at the Semafor event, Christie said Tuesday that “bullsh*t hypocrisy” exists on both sides of the aisle.
“With the crime that’s happening in Manhattan, the idea that he would divert any resources from taking violent criminals off the street and making streets safer to go after a seven-year-old hush money payment to a porn star – how that improves the quality of life for the people in Manhattan, I don’t know,” Christie said of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
At the same time, Christie said the underlying actions alleged in the indictment are unworthy of a President.
“It’s pretty obvious, that’s not the character of somebody we want sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office,” Christie said. “He shouldn’t be being prosecuted in a Manhattan courtroom for it. He should be prosecuted in the court of public opinion for it, and he should be held to account that way for it.”
“We don’t need to criminalize it to condemn it,” Christie said.
Turning to abortion rights, Christie said that the issue “is not in the Constitution” and should be left to the states. “I’m pro-life. I have always believed in exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother,” Christie said. “The federal government should not be involved in this question. This should be determined by the 50 states.”
“What happens is you’re going to have different laws in different states. That happens every day on very important issues,” Christie said. “I think it’s inconsistent for us as a party to say we’re against federal control unless federal control works to our advantage.”
This story has been updated with additional information.