Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) fired back at Donald Trump on Wednesday, calling him “a hot mess” after the former president took a jab at Christie’s weight.
“I mean, look at him. He’s — I mean he’s such a hot mess. And he’s like, talking to me about what I look like — take a look at him,” Christie said, responding to a question from NewsNation while in New Hampshire. NewsNation’s parent company is Nexstar Media Group, which also owns The Hill.
“What I know because I’ve known him for 22 years, is I am so in his head. What’s he doing talking about me? It’s because now I’m in second place in New Hampshire,” he added, referring to a recent poll from NH Journal/co-efficient showing Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — both presidential candidates for the 2024 Republican nomination — tied for second place.
Christie was responding to remarks made by Trump on Tuesday during his New Hampshire rally in which he said, “Christie, he’s eating right now. He can’t be bothered.”
“Sir, please do not call him a fat pig,” Trump said, pointing to someone in the crowd.
“That’s very disrespectful. Don’t call him — see, I’m trying to be nice. Don’t call him a fat pig. You can’t do it. You can’t do that. So now, because you’re not allowed to do that, and therefore we’re not going to do it, OK? We want to be very civil, right?” Trump added.
The former president defended his handling of the incident in a post on Truth Social on Wednesday.
“I was extremely respectful of Sloppy Chris Christie today in New Hampshire. During a speech in front of a large crowd of Patriots, somebody shouted out that ‘Chris Christie is a fat pig,'” Trump wrote in the post.
“Rather than acknowledging that, which many speakers would have done, I said, ‘No, No, he is not a fat pig.’ I’m sure Chris would have been very happy with my defense of him!” he added.
Christie said that Trump was targeting him because he was in second place in polling in New Hampshire, sarcastically adding, “I’m so excited to be the target.”
The former New Jersey governor argued other Americans, too, have struggled with their weight “and they look at somebody who talks like that and they say that’s a child.”
But he also used the opportunity to pressure the former president to attend the first GOP debate scheduled later this month in Milwaukee.
“As I said in our social media — you want to say something? Two weeks from tonight — show up,” Christie said. “I’ll be on the stage. You want to have the conversation? I’m happy to have the conversation, but he doesn’t want to have the conversation with anybody could punch back, he punches the defenseless.”
Christie’s comments come several weeks ahead of the first GOP debate, but Trump has not yet committed to participating despite Fox News executives reportedly persuading him to go to Milwaukee.
The former New Jersey governor is among a few of GOP presidential hopefuls who have consistently criticized the former president, though polling in New Hampshire suggests that Christie might be seeing some modest movement.
A RealClearPolitics polling average of New Hampshire GOP primary surveys shows Trump in first at 41.7 percent, DeSantis in second at 17.7 percent, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Christie at 6.7 percent in third.
Updated: 5:33 p.m.