Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to make a decision about launching another bid for president in the “next couple weeks,” he said during a live interview with Semafor’s Steve Clemons on Tuesday.
Christie’s potential run in 2024 was one of several topics the Republican touched on during the hour-long discussion. Here are the highlights from Christie’s interview, including his thoughts on Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin’s presidential prospects, and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s calls to “defund the FBI.”
Christie, who has ramped up travel plans in New Hampshire as he explores a bid, said he will jump into the race unless he’s “concluded after this period that I couldn’t win.”
“If I get into the race, I’ll make it interesting,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t be a “wallflower” and would be sure to have memorable exchanges with former President Donald Trump during debates.
Christie said he opposes abortion, but supports exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. But he doesn’t support a federal abortion ban, as some Republicans have proposed.
“I would not be for the federal government being involved in the issue of abortion in any way. I believe the states should make the decisions.”
On Ron DeSantis
Christie said he doesn’t believe Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is truly a conservative, based on how he has handled his public feud with Disney.
“I don’t think we should be heavily regulating business. I don’t think we should be telling business what to do, what to say, how to think,” he said, adding that the ordeal “rightfully makes a lot of people question [DeSantis’] judgment and his maturity.”
Christie also suggested that DeSantis had been badly outmaneuvered by the entertainment company, which quietly struck an agreement to assume most of the power from a state oversight board right before the governor’s handpicked appointees were set to take it over. (DeSantis said Monday that Florida’s legislature would pass a law to undo Disney’s deal.)
“That’s not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi and negotiating our next agreement with China, or sitting across from Putin and trying to resolve what’s happening in Ukraine, if you can’t see around a corner that [Disney CEO] Bob Iger created for you,” Christie said.
Christie went after Trump, saying he lost the election in 2020 — a fact many of the potential 2024 contenders have yet to publicly acknowledge.
“The election wasn’t stolen. He lost,” Christie said. “I understand why he has a hard time coming to terms with losing to Joe Biden.”
He said Trump “undercut the system ... with lies,” and that he doesn’t consider him a conservative either.
On Trump’s New York indictment
He questioned whether Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of Donald Trump is the best use of resources, and he doesn’t think prosecutors will win the case.
Still, he condemned Trump’s alleged hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and said his character isn’t worthy of the Oval Office.
“My view on this is, it is bad conduct that should be punished in the public, in the public square, but it is not a crime,” Christie said.
On Clarence Thomas’ ethics controversy
Following a ProPublica investigation which found that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose financial deals he made with a prominent Republican donor, Christie said it would be smart for the court to institute ethics rules to increase public confidence.
But he said some of the ProPublica report was “crap,” and he criticized the number of adjectives in the stories, mirroring the Wall Street Journal editorial board’s criticism of “adjectival overkill.”
On Marjorie Taylor Greene calling to ‘defund the FBI’
On Joe Manchin and 2024
Asked if there would be a pathway for moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to run for president in 2024, Christie said: “No.”
He said he hasn’t told Manchin that.
“He hasn’t asked. I guess I just did.”
On the Dominion-Fox lawsuit
Christie said the defamation case brought by Dominion Voting System against Fox News shows that “the civil justice system in this country works.”
“I think what should happen is what is happening,” he said.