Character counts, Chris Christie says in launching campaign for White House

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to launch his second presidential campaign on Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
1 of 5 | Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to launch his second presidential campaign on Tuesday. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 6 (UPI) -- Another former ally of Donald Trump will contend with him for the Republican nomination for president as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his second campaign on Tuesday.

Surrounded by an audience in a town hall at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, N.H., Christie said he returned to New Hampshire, where he faced defeat in 2016, to make his case for the Republican nomination.


The former governor's message was focused on unifying Americans rather than dividing them and stressing that voters must again consider character.

"We have leaders who have shown us over and over again that not only are they devoid of character, but they don't care," he said. "Beware of the leader who has never made a mistake -- whenever something goes wrong it's someone else's fault -- and who never lost. A leader like that believes America's greatness resides in the mirror they're looking at."


To be clear, Christie followed by stating that the person he was referring to "who is obsessed with the mirror" and "never admits a mistake" is former President Trump.

Christie follows former Vice President Mike Pence and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the growing field of candidates with ties to the former president.

On Tuesday afternoon, Christie filed his paperwork to run.

The former governor previously ran for president in the 2016 election cycle. He dropped out after losing the New Hampshire primary in February 2016 and went on to turn down a position in Trump's Cabinet. He did serve on Trump's transition team, however, and remained a confidant for the president.

Since Trump lost the 2020 election, and subsequently questioned its legitimacy by allegedly attempting to overturn the result, Christie has distanced himself from the former president. In March, he was the first likely Republican candidate to publicly state that he would not support Trump as a presidential candidate again, Axios reports.

"Look, I just can't," Christie said. "When you have the Jan. 6 choir at a rally and you show video of it -- I just don't think that person is appropriate for the presidency."


On Tuesday, Christie held court for more than an hour, taking questions from the audience for more than half of that time. He stated his position on several high-profile issues including abortion, the war in Ukraine and foreign policy. Christie maintained the pro-life position he campaigned on previously, saying that he believes the states should determine their own abortion laws. He was critical of President Joe Biden earlier in the event but complimented him for his support of Ukraine.

He also shared his skepticism of candidates that tout "America first" viewpoints on governing.

"Is there anybody in this room who is against 'America first?'" Christie asked. "Neither am I. It's a ridiculous statement. The question is not if you want America to be first or not. It's 'how?' You have people in our party who are saying 'fill the moat. Pull up the drawbridge and let's not worry about the rest of the world everybody.'"

"When we stop engaging with the world we're no longer going to be the biggest economy in the world," he continued. "They're going to trade with China. Then China is going to put the screws to us."

The 60-year-old served two terms as governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. During his governorship, Christie oversaw state employment reform and supported the development of natural gas pipelines that were met with pushback from environmental groups.


He also championed judicial reform that would prioritize treatment over punishment for people with drug problems. However, he remained an opponent of the decriminalization of marijuana.

His time as governor also was filled with controversy. Most notably, two of his former aids were found guilty in a conspiracy to shut down the George Washington Bridge in 2013. The scheme, referred to as "Bridgegate," was an act of retaliation against Fort Lee, N.J.'s Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie's re-election campaign.

Christie has denied any involvement with the conspiracy.

Before becoming governor, Christie was a federal prosecutor, appointed U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey by President George W. Bush in 2001. He was lauded for investigating corruption cases, prosecuting more than 130 public officials before resigning in 2008.

Latest Headlines