A Trump rival in 2016, Christie became a key member of his inner circle who has since reinvented himself as one of the former president’s most confrontational Republican critics.
A former federal prosecutor, Christie said the Fulton County indictment leveled against Trump and 18 other allies was “valid and legitimate,” though he criticized District Attorney Fani Willis and special counsel Jack Smith for not working together.
“There’s nothing more selfish than what he’s doing,” Christie said of Trump. “He’s been charged with four different crimes. And yet he still persists in insisting that he has to be a candidate for president.”
Christie’s remarks to the media contrasted with his message on stage with event organizer Erick Erickson, who has largely avoided questions about the former president.
Over 47 minutes, Christie talked about his economic, public safety and foreign policy platform. And he called politicians from both parties “liars and cowards” for refusing to embrace legislation that would revamp the nation’s financially strapped social safety net system.
But Trump has nonetheless loomed over the two-day event, which has brought Christie and five other Trump rivals to Atlanta. And Christie said he won’t sidestep the 91 criminal charges Trump now faces in four jurisdictions.
“He wants to talk about anything other than these charges,” Christie said. “He’s scared he’s just a couple of steps away from that jail cell closing on him.”