Chris Christie thinks he has a sure-fire way to guarantee that Donald Trump participates in the 2024 GOP primary debates, which the former president has threatened to skip.
“I will shame him into showing up,” Christie, a 2024 rival, told Bari Weiss on an episode of her “Honestly” podcast posted Thursday. He said the former president “owes it to his voters and to all the voters in the Republican Party to show up at those debates.”
Christie said he knows Trump will whine about having to appear with other candidates at the debates, saying, “Oh, it’s not fair. It’s not fair to me. I’m so far ahead. Why should I let people talk about me?”
Christie’s response: “Because you decided to run for president. That’s why.”
Ultimately, Christie predicted Trump will show up because of his ego.
“You have to engage in this stuff and the American people, and the Republican Party voters have a right to hear you and to compare you side by side with the other people offering themselves,” he said. “So we’ll continue to make that argument. And quite frankly, I think he’ll show up ’cause I don’t think his ego will permit him not to.”
Christie launched his bid for president earlier this month, saying his main focus is convincing Republicans of Trump’s unsuitability for higher office.
Christie himself has expressed misgivings about the GOP debates. The Republican National Committee is telling candidates they must sign a loyalty pledge backing the party’s eventual nominee in order to qualify for the first debate, scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.
Christie, along with fellow candidates ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, have objected to the pledge, since it could force them to support Trump.
Christie has called the pledge a bad idea, especially since his goal is “to try to save my party and save my country from going down the road of being led by three-time loser Donald Trump.” He previously told CNN that he would “take the pledge in 2024 just as seriously as Donald Trump took it in 2016.”
You can hear Christie’s promise to shame Trump in the podcast below.