So far, current and potential presidential candidates have been a bit reluctant to criticize former President Donald Trump, who maintains a strong grip on the party’s base.
But that could change if former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumps into the race.
“You have to be fearless, because [Trump] will come back — and right at you,” Christie told a group of supporters at a town hall in New Hampshire Monday night, per Politico. “And that means you need to think about who’s got the skill to do that, and who’s got the guts to do that, because it’s not going to end nicely.”
Christie, who made an unsuccessful run for president in 2016, added that hewing too close to the former president is a recipe for failure, pointing to the GOP’s losses in the last three election cycles.
But if he jumps in the race, Christie would face questions from both ends of the GOP spectrum, and he was pressed Monday on how he would defend himself both from those calling him a “Never Trumper”and those questioning why he supported Trump for as long as he did, per Semafor.
Trump’s team appeared to dismiss the criticism from Christie, with spokesman Stephen Cheung commenting simply, “Who’s that?” to the Washington Post. The Post also reported that Christie said a candidate must decide to get into the race by “probably June.”
In other campaign news…
Team Trump’s warning: Former President Donald Trump’s campaign says it won’t hire anyone who decides to work for Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in the future, the latest escalation of tensions between the two possible presidential rivals. Amid that warning, the 2020 Trump campaign’s deputy director of communications, Matt Wolking, announced he’s joining a pro-DeSantis super PAC. The Washington Post has more on who else is joining the group.
Think tank, shark tank: Vice reports that while many top employees of the Claremont Institute think tank were aligned with Trump’s administration, some top leaders have been cozying up to DeSantis.
Haley’s take: Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley responded to the Nashville school shooting during a town hall in New Hampshire, calling for additional metal detectors and a single entrance for schools, per USA Today.
Kemp says no thank you: The Wall Street Journal’s editorial features editor interviewed Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, reporting that “he answers with a flat no when I ask if he’s thinking of a presidential run.”
Sunshine or rain clouds?: The Daily Beast reports on the Florida Democratic Party’s struggles to find someone to run against Republican Sen. Rick Scott.
A Texas two-step: Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee says she plans to join the crowded field of candidates running for mayor of Houston this year.
Disunion in Chicago: The New York Times reports on the power of unions in the Chicago mayoral race, where the Fraternal Order of Police is backing Paul Vallas and the Chicago Teachers Union is backing Brandon Johnson.
Huckabee hearts Trump: Former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, a longtime Trump ally, endorsed Trump again over the weekend.