Chris Christie’s relationship with Donald Trump changes all the time.
Since the spring of 2015, Christie has been a primary opponent of Trump, a supporter of his, an advisor and then a fierce critic.
No, it wasn’t Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 that inspired mobs to ransack the Capitol, it was everything the then-president said after last year’s election that sparked the insurrection.
That was Christie’s take in a CNN special about him that aired Monday night. (Why Christie merited an hour-long show on CNN in prime time is unclear).
Christie said Jan. 6 wasn’t officially a “coup,” because the military wasn’t involved – only citizens. But still, it was bad enough.
The former governor said he tried to contact Trump as the mayhem ensued – he tried four different phone numbers – but to no avail.
These comments about Trump are not new.
Christie of late has not been shy about saying Republicans have to look forward, not backward. That means, among other things, that the GOP has to move past Trump’s claims of voter fraud and look to win the midterms next year and the presidency in 2024.
At the same time, Christie would not rule out supporting Trump if he runs for president in 2024.
CNN journalist Dana Bash, who hosted this show, correctly observed that this sounds like a “cop out.”
The implication was clear – how can you support a guy who you just said encouraged supporters to storm the Capitol?
Christie said something about not making a commitment so far in advance, adding that he doesn’t expect Trump to run again.
As for Christie.
“I’m definitely thinking about it,” he said.
For that to happen, Christie said he needs a desire to actually do the job, support from his family and a path to victory.
Well, any path to victory begins with a path to the nomination.
On that score, Christie said he thinks, or perhaps hopes, there are enough rank and file Republicans who agree it’s time to move past crazy conspiracy theories and look ahead.
The reality is that a number of House Republicans who have criticized Trump are not running again, seemingly because of a pro-Trump backlash.
And along those lines, just a few days ago in Wyoming, Republicans voted to no longer recognize Liz Cheney as a Republican.
Wyoming is hardly a pivotal player in national politics, but Republicans there are probably more in sync with the GOP’s national mood than some party members in New Jersey.
Things can always change, but it’s hard to see Trump going away. And that means his cult isn’t going away either. Not good news for a Christie presidential run.
The CNN special also touched on Christie’s gubernatorial tenure and his admirable response to superstorm Sandy in 2012. With the Jersey Shore now a topic, the interview got around to the infamous picture of the governor sitting on a closed beach.
“It was a mistake,” he said, explaining that he was on the beach for only 30 minutes.
Christie doesn’t normally admit mistakes, so this was new ground of sorts.
But what about “Bridgegate,” which helped derail Christie’s 2016 presidential run? A mistake as well?
Oddly, that incident wasn’t brought up.