Chris Christie says any GOP challenger should drop out of the race if they’re not doing well in the first few states — and to him, that means being in the top four.
The former New Jersey governor stopped by Chris Cuomo’s show Thursday on NewsNation, and was asked by the “Cuomo” host under what circumstances he’d jump out of the race.
“Look, what I said was I have to do well, I didn’t say I have to win,” Christie, who’s been polling in the low double-digits, said. “I said, I have to do well in New Hampshire. And I think that’s just being realistic.”
Christie, who went deep in his run against Donald Trump in 2016, continues to criticize the former president at a higher volume than his competition. It remains to be seen how that strategy will play in primary season next year — but Christie says he won’t stay past his welcome.
“If you don’t do well in the first few states, you should get out of the race. Voters are speaking, money will dry up,” he said. “I’m just being practical about it.”
Cuomo then asked Christie what his definition of “doing well” would be.
“I think you got to be top four,” he replied drily.
“Look, you know, the latest New Hampshire poll, I’m in second place at 14%,” he continued. “So I’m already beating [Vivek] Ramaswamy and [Ron] DeSantis. Only behind Trump. So, you know, I feel like we’re going to do very well there. And so I think top four is absolutely attainable for us. And that’s what we’re going for.”
Cuomo also pressed Christie on whether his staunchly anti-Trump stance is going to work against the runaway frontrunner for the Republican nomination.
“If it kills me in the minds of 35% of my party, it doesn’t kill me in the minds of 65% of my party, Chris,” Christie said. “The fact is, I’m not going to compromise on the truth. The truth is what matters in this race and the truth is what matters in this country. And that’s what we got to get back to. And that’s what I’m doing. That’s the kind of race I’m running.”
Cuomo then grilled Christie on how he planned to successfully attack a candidate that was polling over 50% among GOP primary voters.
“I think you’re going to get him in in a number of different ways,” Christie said. “First, is that he didn’t accomplish what he said he would accomplish as president. He said he’s going to build a wall across the entire border of the U.S. and Mexico — he built 52 miles of wall. He said Mexico was going to pay for it — Mexico hasn’t paid us one peso yet. And, you know, if he keeps it, that pace, he needed 110 more years as president to finish the wall.”
Christie also mentioned Trump’s broken promises to repeal Obamacare and balance the budget — and of course those pesky indictments.
“But more importantly, the conduct that underlies [them] is a very, very, very big problem,” he said. “And I don’t think independent voters in this country, and many Republicans, are going to vote for him in a general election. So we also want to get rid of him because he can’t win. And I don’t want another four years at Joe Biden.”
Watch the entire exchange in the video above.