Christie: If Trump doesn’t debate it shows ‘lack of respect’ 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said if former President Trump does not attend the first Republican presidential debate later this month, it shows a “lack of respect” for Republican voters. 

“The different it makes is for the Republican voters, because it shows his complete lack of respect for Republican voters,” Christie said in an interview Wednesday with Fox News’ Brett Baier. “He thinks, because he won the nomination twice, that it’s his. And he thinks that these numbers actually mean they approve of what he did, when, in essence, it’s just that he’s the best-known person in the race.” 

Trump has previously hinted he is unlikely to join the stage later this month for the first Republican primary debate, citing his lead in the polls. The former president has argued his strong polling as the race’s frontrunner means he does not need to debate with other candidates. 

“So, if he doesn’t show up two weeks from tonight, what it will show once again is what he showed throughout his presidency was complete disrespect for the people,” Christie said. “The only good thing for me will be, I will have more time to speak, because he won’t be droning out about his three indictments with a fourth to come.” 

Trump told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on Wednesday he will not sign the loyalty pledge required by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to participate in the first primary debate, adding he would announce next week whether he will attend the debate.

Christie, once a Trump ally, has been vocally critical of the former president throughout his own campaign, and has taken aim at other Republican candidates who he claims do not speak out against the former president enough. 

Christie and Trump’s conflict has largely played out in the public eye, most recently with a back-and-forth regarding Trump’s comments about Christie’s weight.

While speaking at a rally in New Hampshire Tuesday night, Trump took aim at Christie over his weight. 

Christie later responded to Trump’s comments, posting on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, “If you had the guts, you would show up to the debate and say it to my face.” 

Earlier Wednesday, Christie said Trump is “such a hot mess,” while responding to a question from NewsNation while in New Hampshire. NewsNation’s parent company is Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.

A Morning Consult poll from Tuesday shows Trump remains far ahead in the race, with 59 percent of GOP voters showing support for the former president, while Christie is polling at 3 percent. 

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