DES MOINES, Iowa — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has a message to other Republican presidential candidates on the debates: essentially man up or shut up.
“I’m not one of these guys that’s going to sit around and complain about this, OK,” he told NBC News on Saturday after he took questions from an Iowa crowd.
“If you can’t take it, on the stage, no matter whether it’s fair or unfair, and I thought there was a lot of unfair stuff the other night," Christie said. "But if you can’t take it, then how are you going to take running against Hillary Clinton, how are you going to take negotiating for America around the world?”
In the aftermath of the CNBC-hosted GOP debate on Wednesday, where the candidates clashed with moderates and ridiculed the format, the RNC decided to suspend NBC News and Telemundo as debate partners. NBC has called the decision “disappointing” and has entered into talks with the RNC to work out a resolution.
Meanwhile, several of the campaigns have decided to meet separately on Sunday to discuss how to revise the debate structure, with party representatives excluded.
Christie said he thinks the RNC has done a “fine” job of negotiating — and that he would show up to whatever debates are on tap, no matter which network they’re on.
“Any debate they put on, I’ll show up because I’m going to do just fine. So I don’t care if it’s NBC and Telemundo or anybody else, you put a debate up, I’ll show up,” he said.
The New Jersey governor has remained mired in the single digits in most GOP primary polls and was the subject of a recent New York Times op-ed calling on him to drop out of the presidential race.