Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican 2024 presidential candidate, has issued a challenge to Donald Trump after the former president criticized Christie over his weight.
On Tuesday, Christie called on the primary frontrunner to display courage by attending the debate and delivering these comments face-to-face.
“If you had the guts, you would show up to the debate and say it to my face,” he wrote to the on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Christie’s challenge came following remarks made by Trump during a rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening.
“Christie, he’s eating right now. He can’t be bothered,” Trump said at the event Tuesday. While gesturing toward someone in the audience, he added: “Sir, please do not call him a fat pig.”
“That’s very disrespectful. Don’t call him. See, I’m trying to be nice. Don’t call him a fat pig. You can’t do it. You can’t do that,” Trump continued. “So now, because you’re not allowed to do that, and therefore we’re not going to do it, ok? We want to be very civil.”
If you had the guts you would show up to the debate and say it to my face. pic.twitter.com/Zyuh6GVgVh
— Chris Christie (@GovChristie) August 9, 2023
Trump has repeatedly ridiculed Christie’s weight throughout the primary campaign, targeting a long-standing personal struggle of the former governor.
Christie, who previously ran against Trump in 2016, has emerged as one of the boldest contenders to openly criticize the former president, despite others aiming to find a delicate balance between critiquing the leading GOP candidate and staying in his favor.
Trump indicated his probable absence from the first GOP primary debate scheduled for the end of this month, citing his significant lead in the polls as justification for skipping the event. He believed that a debate at this early stage of the primary would not be worthwhile.
The latest Morning Consult data on Tuesday revealed Trump’s substantial backing of 59 percent among hypothetical GOP primary voters, whereas Christie garnered support from only 3 percent, according to the same statistics.
Although Christie has shown progress in New Hampshire, evidenced by a recent poll that placed him tied for second place with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump still maintained a significant lead in the polls.