WASHINGTON — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) received a chilly reception at a Conservative conference on Friday after criticizing former President Donald Trump, one of his rivals in the 2024 White House race.
“I’m running because he let us down,” Christie told a crowd of several hundred social conservatives gathered at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
“He is unwilling to take responsibility for the mistakes that have been made, for the mistakes he has and for the things that he has done.”
Several angry Trump supporters in the crowd cheered, and a woman yelled, “We love Trump!”
“Boo all you want, but here’s the thing: Our faith teaches us that people should take responsibility for what they do,” Christie replied, earning some applause from the audience.
Christie started Earlier this month, he launched his presidential campaign, positioning himself as someone who is not afraid to denounce Trump for his actions as president, including his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 US Capitol riots. The former governor was an early supporter by Trump, but has since said he made a “fundamental error of judgment.”
Shortly after he left the stage on Friday, Christie entered a lobby in front of the hotel’s ballroom, where he was greeted by a small crowd who cheered him on loudly.
“Christy! Christie! Christie!” chanted a group of about 10 people. It’s unclear if they were part of his team or just a random collection of supporters.
“My favorite governor!” yelled one.
“What’s the matter with you guys?” Christie joked, shaking their hands and posing for photos.
HuffPost asked what he thought about being booed for hitting Trump.
“That’s what happens when you tell the truth,” Christie replied. “It is in order.”
When another person nearby told him to “stand firm” if he confronted Trump, Christie said, “I will.”
Not everyone around was a Christie fan.
Mike, a 35-year-old small business owner from New York, stood still while Christie posed for photos. So does 34-year-old Diana from Tennessee. (Both requested that their full names be kept secret.)
“I’m still with Trump,” Diana said.
“I’m on Trump’s side,” Mike said.
Diana said she thinks Trump is the best candidate when it comes to “international affairs, our economy and the state of affairs.” I look at our border crisis. I’m from Texas. This really affects my family.”
Christie does poorly with the Republican primary. Before he announced his campaign, a poll by Monmouth University found the governor’s rating was unfavorable the highest of 10 potentials The scrutiny of the 2024 presidential nominees underscores the challenge he faces if he wants to run for the White House.
For example, Mike is still mad at Christie about Bridgegate, The political scandal of 2013 In the process, then-governor officials and political officials worked together to cause traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing lanes at a major toll booth. A federal investigation into the plan, in retaliation for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee failing to support Christie’s re-election as governor, resulted in multiple indictments against several Christie’s employees.
Mike said he still remembers getting stuck in a four-hour traffic jam during Bridgegate on his regular commute from New York to New Jersey.
“I suffered from this traffic,” he said.