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Chris Christie says DeSantis not engaging Trump attacks is ‘bad strategy’

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks on stage before speaking at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said it’s a “bad strategy” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) not to engage with former President Trump’s attacks ahead of a possible 2024 GOP presidential primary showdown.

Christie said in a radio interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade last week that he “wasn’t surprised” to see DeSantis, who has hinted he could run for the White House in 2024 but has not formally announced a bid, shift recently to take a firmer stance against the former president, who announced his reelection campaign just after the midterms.

“I think it belies the idea that people have been talking about that you can ignore Donald Trump, not engage with them. I think that’s not only probably physically impossible, but I think it also is bad strategy,” Christie said.

“You know, you have to engage. The guy’s the former president of the United States. He’s the front-runner for the Republican nomination. And if you’re gonna run … you’re gonna have to engage with the front-runner.”

The Florida governor in a recent interview with Fox Nation’s Piers Morgan dismissed Trump’s name-calling and said it’s “not important” to be “fighting with people on social media,” positioning the pair as having different leadership styles.

“I still think [DeSantis is] trying to have it both ways, you know, just kind of be cute about what he’s saying about the former president. You know, so we’ll see how he conducts himself going forward if he gets into the race, but I don’t think there’s any way to avoid confronting and engaging with the front-runner,” Christie said.

Trump, on the other hand, has been vocal in his attacks against DeSantis, who — though he’s not declared his candidacy — has regularly polled as a top potential contender in a hypothetical GOP primary.

Christie is also considering a bid, and said Sunday he plans to make a decision on whether to get in the ring in the next 60 days. 

Tags 2024 presidential election Chris Christie Chris Christie Donald Trump Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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