Moderator Bret Baier had to interfere after boos directed at former New Jersey governor Chris Christie were too loud at the first Republican debate of the 2024 election season.
On Wednesday night, Baier questioned the eight candidates onstage in Milwaukee on whether they would still back former President Donald Trump if he were convicted of one of his indictments.
Only two candidates did not raise their hands, and Christie was one of them. (The other was Asa Hutchinson, a former governor of Arkansas.
The nice thing about our nation, Christie said after being booed, is that it’s allowable to be booed, but the truth of what he is saying doesn’t change.
Christie sees the normalizing of Donald Trump’s behavior as dangerous. Chris Christie made a national name for himself by being brash, brutal, almost bullying, and he was proud of it. Now, he is acting the part of Mr. Congeniality, and no one is buying it.
New Hampshire is a long shot for Christie, but it’s also his greatest chance to alter the structure of this race, and yet he’s only polling in the high single digits there and in the low single digits nationwide. Trump is the problem, as always. He was Trump’s first big booster and a pre-politics friend and dinner partner before Christie became one of his most vocal detractors.
Not only did Christie not use any of the several chances to split with Trump, but he was also crucial in normalizing the party’s support for Trump early in his rise to power. As a result, he is historically unpopular inside his party, with disapproval coming from both the more conservative and the more liberal wings of the Republican Party.
His campaign team optimistically refers to the people in the middle as “the persuadables.” Since they can’t decide which Christie to trust, they can’t seem to determine how they feel about Christie. Long-time watchers of Christie, as well as voters at his roundtables and town halls in New Hampshire and South Carolina, reveal that even many of those most receptive to his message remain skeptical of his choices and motives. Many people now believe that the attention, opportunism, and unfulfilled ambition that drove his actions back then still drive him now.