Last weekend The Atlantic published Leibovich’s interview with former New Jersey governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate Chris Christie.
“How many different ways are you gonna ask the same fucking question, Mark?” Chris Christie asked me. We were seated in the dining room of the Hay-Adams hotel. It’s a nice hotel, five stars. Genteel.
Christie’s sudden ire was a bit jolting, as I had asked him only a few fairly innocuous questions so far, most of them relating to Donald Trump, the man he might run against in the presidential race. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, was visiting Washington as part of his recent tour of public deliberations about whether to launch another campaign.
Color me dubious. It’s unclear what makes Christie think the Republican Party might magically revert to some pre-Trump incarnation. Or, for that matter, what makes him think a campaign would go any better than his did seven years ago, the last time Christie ran, when he won exactly zero delegates and dropped out of the Republican primary after finishing sixth in New Hampshire.
But still, color me vaguely intrigued too—more so than I am about, say, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. If Christie runs again in 2024, he could at least serve a compelling purpose: The gladiatorial Garden Stater would be better at poking the orange bear than would potential rivals Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley, who so far have offered only the most flaccid of critiques. Over the past few months, Christie has been among the more vocal and willing critics of Trump. Notably, he became the first Republican would-be 2024 candidate to say he would not vote for the former president again in a general election.
Christie makes for an imperfect kamikaze candidate, to say the least. But he does seem genuine in his desire to retire his doormat act and finally take on his former patron and intermittent friend. Which was why I found myself having breakfast with Christie earlier this week, eager to hear whether he was really going to challenge Trump and how hard he was willing to fight. Strangely, he seemed more eager to fight with me.
It was a weird breakfast. Shortly after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Christie strolled through the ornate dining room of the Hay-Adams, where he had spent the previous few nights. He was joined by his longtime aide Maria Comella. We sat near a window, with a view of the White House across Lafayette Square, and about 100 feet from the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, where Trump had staged his ignominious Bible photo op three springs ago.
Read the rest here.