Former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie doubts an indictment would benefit former President Donald Trump’s 2024 election chances.
Jonathan Karl, co-anchor of ABC News’s “This Week,” asked Christie on Sunday what he believes Trump is trying to do by announcing that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday and calling on supporters to protest.
“The circus continues,” Christie replied. “I mean, look, he only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil. And so he wants to create the chaos and turmoil on his terms. He doesn’t want it on anybody else’s terms.”
Still, Christie stressed, “at the end, being indicted never helps anybody.”
Such a view heavily contrasts with the prediction by Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who projected Trump would win by a “landslide” if he is arrested. Experts told ABC News Trump could still be elected president if he is indicted or convicted, but they warned such a development would present challenges to the candidate.
Christie, who served as New Jersey governor from 2010 to 2018, also has experience as a federal prosecutor. He previously ran for president in 2016 but dropped out and rallied behind Trump’s campaign. Christie has become increasingly critical of Trump over the years and is now considering a 2024 run of his own.
Other current or prospective candidates are also commenting on Trump potentially being indicted.
Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, a 2024 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said it would be a “national disaster.” Former Vice President Mike Pence told ABC News that he feels Trump is being subjected to a “politically charged prosecution here. And I, for my part, I just feel like it’s just not what the American people want to see.”
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Amid reports of law enforcement preparing for an imminent indictment, Trump said in a social media post on Saturday that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as part of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into hush money payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election cycle. Daniels alleges she had an affair with Trump, a claim the former president denies. Trump also claims Bragg’s inquiry is politically motivated and denies any wrongdoing.
Christie suggested that most Americans likely won’t change their view on Trump based on the Stormy Daniels situation, but reasoned that unprecedented images of a political figure being arrested could drastically change the national mood.
“I don’t think there’s many Americans who don’t believe that Donald Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels and that don’t believe that he paid her money at the end of the campaign to keep it quiet. So I don’t think that the American people probably see this as a huge crime,” Christie said.
“But the vision of a former president of the United States being processed, fingerprinted, mug-shotted … being indicted, I don’t think it ever helps anybody,” he added.
Chris Christie hammers Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s lack of law & order “danger zone,” highlights Bragg’s “revolving door” approach to violent criminals & says Bragg has “failed miserably and all of a sudden he wants to get tough on Donald Trump.” pic.twitter.com/iYmwyxOeWV
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) March 19, 2023
Christie also reserved criticism for Bragg, whom he described as being too soft on violent criminals.
Bragg has “failed miserably and all of a sudden he wants to get tough on Donald Trump,” Christie said in a clip highlighted by the Trump War Room Twitter account.