Christie calls Trump a ‘coward’ in the race after skipping another primary debate

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Christie calls Trump a ‘coward’ in the race after skipping another primary debate

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie on Thursday railed against former President Trump for skipping the third GOP presidential debate, calling him a “coward” who “doesn’t want to defend his record.”

“Well look he’s a coward,” Christie said of the former president in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And he’s always been a coward in this race. He doesn’t want to defend his record.”

Trump skipped Wednesday night’s third GOP presidential debate in Miami, instead holding a rally in Hialeah, Fla., about 15 miles from where his GOP rivals were debating around the same time. The former president was also missing from the first and second debates.

“And you know, if I were under four indictments in four different jurisdictions and out on bail in four jurisdictions, I wouldn’t want to get on a stage and answer questions about how in God’s name you’re going to be able to represent this party and be able to take on Joe Biden,” Christie argued.

Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, was among the five GOP candidates who took the debate stage in Miami, where he touched on a variety of issues — including abortion, the Israel-Hamas war and a proposed ban on TikTok. He has made criticism of Trump a central focus of his presidential campaign and has urged other GOP candidates to do so as well.

“Even last night all of them do some…at least two of them did a little bit of a weak pass-by at Donald Trump, but they’re unwilling to take him on,” Christie said. “They’re all running for either vice president or a member of his cabinet.”

“I’ve been offered spots in his cabinet, I turned them all down,” he added. “I have no interest in doing that, I want to be president of the United States.”

Christie also dug into Tuesday’s losses for Republicans in state elections, calling the former president’s endorsements “continued electoral political poison.” He argued that they contributed to the GOP losing many races to Democrats.

“And I think what we saw on Tuesday night is another example of the fact that folks who have the Trump imprimatur cannot win in this country,” Christie said.

Pointing to the gubernatorial race in Kentucky — which saw the reelection of Gov. Andy Beshear (D) against state Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) — Christie said, “Daniel Cameron loses an election in Kentucky, one of the reddest states of the country, because he sold his soul to Donald Trump.”

“The fact is that no one on that stage other than me will take him on,” he added.

Trump currently faces criminal charges in four separate cases over alleged election interference in Georgia and Washington, D.C.; the mishandling of classified documents, and alleged hush money payments in New York. He is also in the middle of a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who is accusing the former president, the Trump Organization and two of his sons of more than a decade of fraud.

Despite mounting legal battles and his continued absence at the GOP debates, Trump has maintained his strong lead over his rivals throughout his campaign. Recent polling from FiveThirtyEight shows Trump with about 56.6 percent support, compared to Christie who falls far behind with 3.1 percent support.