Former President Donald Trump rapped former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, on Monday after the onetime ally urged the GOP to move beyond Trump’s assertions that last year’s election was stolen from him.
Christie made his remarks during an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s conference in Las Vegas, pushing the party to give voters a “plan for tomorrow, not a grievance about yesterday.”
“Winning campaigns are always the campaigns that look forward, not backwards,” said Christie, further speculating that the party would suffer politically if members kept rehashing and re-litigating the 2020 election.
The former Garden State governor’s remarks were blasted by Trump, who has maintained for a year that vote fraud and illegal changes to state election laws ahead of balloting caused him to lose to then-Democratic rival Joe Biden.
“Chris Christie, who just made a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Las Vegas, was just absolutely massacred by his statements that Republicans have to move on from the past, meaning the 2020 Election Fraud,” Trump noted in a statement. “Everybody remembers that Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9% approval rating – a record low, and they didn’t want to hear this from him!”
The back-and-forth between both East Coast Republicans comes as party leaders and rank-and-file members assess post-election losses last week by Democrats in historically blue states like Virginia and New York, and importantly, whether they should hitch their wagons to the former president as the country moves into the 2022 midterm election cycle.
Notably, Republican Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, who was endorsed by Trump over the summer, did not campaign with him and made it a point, seemingly, to avoid campaign events in which Trump was a part.
“Youngkin ended up overperforming — and in some cases winning — parts of the commonwealth that had drifted away from the GOP in recent years,” The Hill reported. “He made particular gains among many of the suburban voters who had helped power Democratic wins in Virginia during Trump’s tenure in the White House.”
The Hill noted that Christie’s remarks “drew uneven applause” when he made them in Vegas, likely reflecting the fact that Trump remains the most influential Republican within the party.
To that point, Trump has steadfastly avoided announcing whether he intends to run again for president in 2024, though many of his surrogates have strongly suggested that he will.
As for whether a Trump endorsement hurts or hinders Republicans, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, said over the weekend that getting the former president’s blessing is a plus. However, he added that GOP candidates still had to develop a message that wins over most voters.
“I think you’d be foolish not to want and accept Donald Trump’s endorsement, but you’re going to win not because somebody endorses you,” he told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.
“You’re going to win because you focus on making sure inflation gets stopped. Making sure people get a job. Making sure their kid, your kids, aren’t indoctrinated on critical race theory. Making sure we have safe communities. That’s gonna be the issues that people care about,” Scott added.
Reflecting on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s loss in Virginia, Scott noted further: “I hope Democrats continue to be obsessed with Donald Trump. I think Terry McAuliffe would probably run his campaign differently, he wouldn’t focus his whole campaign on Donald Trump.”
“I think what we have to do is, we have to say, ‘We would love Donald Trump’s endorsement,’ if you’re a Republican and you want his endorsement. But you’re gonna win on the issues.”
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