On May 31, Axios reported that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will seek the 2024 Republican presidential nomination beginning next week, and right-wing media responded with bemusement and ridicule: “One wonders what he’s up to.”
Long ago, Christie was thought of as a strong presidential contender, but in the aftermath of the Trump presidency -- and a 2012 photo-op with former President Barack Obama -- Christie’s chances are commonly panned, not only in right-wing media, but, in at least one instance, even from his now-former ABC News colleagues.
While Christie can enjoy small pockets of conservative opinion-makers who say “nobody is a better debater” than him, the thrust of conservative media opinion is that he is running only to “bludgeon” and “kamikaze” Trump’s campaign, yet “in the process he’ll take himself down."
Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends has been a relative bastion of Christie support, with longtime co-host Steve Doocy declaring that “nobody is a better debater on the Republican squad than Chris Christie.”
“As a former federal prosecutor, he is able to prosecute a case, and I remember back when he was, you know, running against other people, he was always very effective,” Doocy claimed, while presenting his failure to win enough votes as a consequence of not getting enough debate time.
However, Doocy’s Fox & Friends colleague Lawrence Jones, who filled in for him the following day, does not share his enthusiasm. “The more people that get in this race, I think pretty much every strategist will tell you that this only helps Donald Trump,” Jones said. And when it comes to Christie’s debate skills, Jones explained that “he took out the other Republicans. He took out Rubio on the stage, but he didn't take Donald Trump out, and he was the first person to endorse him.”
“I think we can look at the numbers in even New Jersey, not a lot of Republicans like him, even in New Jersey. So we’ll see."
Similarly, on Fox’s Special Report, analyst Brit Hume said that “one wonders what he’s up to” in running for president, also acknowledging that Christie “took on Marco Rubio” in 2016 but “the benefit of it did not accrue to Christie.” Later on the same show, The Daily Caller’s Vince Coglianese denied that Christie “is jumping into this race to become president of the United States. I think he’s jumping in to try and kamikaze Donald Trump” and “in the process he’ll take himself down.”
“Chris Christie is the only one [Republican candidate] I have no interest in talking to,” complained Sean Hannity, continuing the dismissal of Christie 2024. “Absolutely none, because he's made it clear he has one agenda item for running for president. And that is to bludgeon Donald Trump. That's not a serious run for the presidency.”
Calling the former governor “self-righteous” and “sanctimonious,” Hannity piled on that he “left office with like a 15% approval rating. You can't get lower than 15%. I think it's the lowest I've ever seen."
“Politicians often run out of things to do,” claimed conservative commentator Ben Domenech, telling Fox host Pete Hegseth that “running for president is sometimes the least damaging thing that they can actually do.” Chris Bedford, his Federalist colleague and Fox co-panelist, was more direct about Christie's apparent role in the 2024 primary.
“He's kind of the ghost of Christmas past for why someone like Ron DeSantis would run now as opposed to maybe waiting his turn,” he said. “When Chris Christie ran in 2016, he was kind of a has-been. ... 2012 was really when he was a big person in the Republican spotlight. That was probably when he had the best chance to actually win the nomination.”
Thus far, Christie has not found much support for his 2024 campaign in right-wing media. But even at ABC, his former employer until news of his campaign dropped, there does not seem to be much belief in his chances.
On April 23, when Christie was still an ABC News contributor, This Week discussed his “toying with a presidential run,” in the words of guest host Martha Raddatz. Panelist Marianna Sotomayor commented that “we have seen so many attacks against Trump and it really hasn’t” resonated, even though “it seems like Christie’s position is to just go in and constantly be saying these things.”
“Maybe that could resonate in early states to some voters,” Sotomayor said — stressing the words “maybe” and “some” — “but at the end of the day, in this kind of primary climate, where we’ve seen Trump just again and again and again be underestimated and come out on top, I don’t know.” Raddatz chimed in with a smile that “we have a very long time to go.”