© Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/TNS
Republican candidate for President Chris Christie speaks at Saint Anselm in Manchester Staff Photo by Nancy Lane/Boston Herald (Tuesday,June 6, 2023). on the Boston Common on Tuesday, in Manchester, NH. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald) June 6, 2023

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Gov. Chris Christie made clear from the start that his campaign for the White House will not be the same as other Republicans, launching his run for the presidency with direct attacks on the leading conservative candidate, former President Trump.

Where other GOP hopefuls have attempted to strike a very delicate balance — stuck somewhere between making clear that they should be the party’s pick to face President Biden in November of 2024, while not insulting the 45th president directly lest they alienate his MAGA-movement base — Christie launched his campaign with broad-ranging historical references to successful political leaders from the past and then promptly began an unapologetic assault on Trump’s record and public scandals.

“A lonely, self-consumed, self-serving, mirror hog is not a leader,” he said. “So now we have pretenders all around us, who want to tell you ‘pick me, because I’m kind of like what you picked before, but not quite as crazy, but I don’t want to say his name.’ Because for these other pretenders, he is — for those of you who read the Harry Potter books — like Voldemort. He is he who shall not be named.”

“Well let me be clear, in case I have not been already,” he said to laughter.

“The person I am talking about, who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault, and who always finds someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong but finds every reason to take credit for anything that goes right, is Donald Trump” Christie said in New Hampshire during a town hall style appearance at Saint Anselm College, before officially announcing his candidacy for the GOP nomination.

Christie, who served two terms as New Jersey’s governor, has run for president before.

He left the 2016 race after coming in sixth in New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary. He would later endorse and lead Trump’s White House transition team. Since then, he has become something of an oddity among his party, calling Trump responsible for the events of January 6 and openly opposing his obviously false claims the 2020 election was somehow stolen.

Christie said he would have declined if asked to run even a year ago, but the 60-year-old went on to tell the standing room only crowd inside the New Hampshire Institute of Politics that another four years of the 45th President would be disastrous for the country. He said the last decade has been one of division brought about by our nation’s highest office holders.

“We’ve had leaders who have led us to be small. Small by their example. Small by the way they conduct themselves,” he said. “They are making us smaller by dividing us into smaller and smaller groups.”

According to Christie, it’s a problem among both Republicans and Democrats.

“Barack Obama made us smaller, by dividing us,” he said. “Donald Trump made us smaller, by dividing us even further.”

“And now Joe Biden is doing the very same thing,” he continued.

Christie acknowledged past failings without naming them, telling the audience if they were looking for a perfect candidate it wasn’t him and they should leave.

“When I’ve made mistakes, I’ve admitted it,” he said. “If your leaders are not willing to admit to you that they are fallible, that they make mistakes, that they hurt like you, that they bleed like you, that they suffer disappointments and let downs: beware.”

Christie’s announcement he hopes to oust President Biden from the White House follows that of Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to launch his campaign in Iowa on Wednesday.

Christie, known as a take-no-nonsense brawler of a politician, has his work cut out for him if he hopes to sit in the Oval Office someday. Trump is currently dominating in the polls. The former president leads by an average of 30 points, with DeSantis a distant second and Haley an even further third. Christie currently averages at 1% support.

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