Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has hinted at the consequences for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) if the latter decides to follow advice outlined to him in a leaked strategy memo made public this week. . to the delight of DeSantis detractors.
“I don’t know. A canned phrase used by a Florida politician, on a debate stage, against me? What can go wrong?” Christie joked at an Atlanta event on Saturday, according to Semafor reporter Dave Weigel and the Florida Politics blog.
He referenced the time Christie eviscerated Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) onstage by yelling his “memorized” responses during a primary debate seven and a half years ago.
Christie pounced on Rubio for his lack of practical experience after the Florida senator criticized him and the then-president. Barack Obama before offering praise for “the greatest nation in the history of the world.”
“That’s what Washington, DC does. The drive-by shooting at first with incorrect and incomplete information, and then the 25-second memorized speech which is exactly what his advisers gave him,” Christie said in the February 2016 debate, drawing cheers.
He added: “The memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is in the end doesn’t solve a problem for one person.”
Christie also made his point later when Rubio said, “Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
“There it is,” Christie chimed in, earning applause. “There it is, the 25-second memorized speech.” (Watch the clip below.)
DeSantis Strategy Memo, first reported by The New York Times, instructed the often rigid and dispassionate governor to fulfill four tasks in the debate, the fourth being “to defend Donald Trump in absentia in response to an attack by Chris Christie.” He had been groomed by Axiom Strategies, a company owned by Republican strategist Jeff Roe.
While Trump has been relentless in his attacks on DeSantis, the governor has generally been coy in his responses so as not to alienate Trump’s enthusiastic base.
If he tries to defend Trump, DeSantis should simply “get out of the race,” Christie said Friday. according to The New York Times.
“If you run for president of the United States, are you really going to let another group of people tell you what to say?” Christie said about DeSantis, according to the Times. “This campaign of his has gone from up here to down here because people are really starting to wonder what the hell he stands for.”
The first Republican primary debate of 2024 is scheduled for August 25 in Milwaukee, although the list of candidates still being set up. Trump is not expected to participate.