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Chris Christie is happy to spar with Trump and call out his election lies, may support him in 2024

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) began publicly testing the appetite for his pitch about a post-Trump Republican Party in a September speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. And he's very clear that President Biden won in 2020 in a new book, Republican Rescue. When Christie reiterated his message about looking forward and fighting Biden now instead of obsessing about 2020 at a Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Nevada last week, former President Donald Trump took note and tried to slap Christie down.

Christie "was just absolutely massacred by his statements that Republicans have to move on from the past, meaning the 2020 Election Fraud," Trump said in statement, adding that "Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9 percent approval rating — a record low, and they didn't want to hear this from him!" (It was actually 19 percent.) 

Christie poked back. Trump should focus less on "personal vendetta," he told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday, adding: "I just think if he wants to have that kind of conversation about me then I'm going to point out that I got 60 percent of the vote in a blue state." He told Axios something similar last week.

Christie's book has plenty of anecdotes about Trump, though he told the Times' Maggie Haberman "it's not a book about him." For example, when Christie was getting last rites from his priest during a very serious bout of COVID-19 he contracted after a White House event, he writes, Trump called him in the hospital with one main concern: "Are you gonna say you got it from me?" And Trump was "just beside himself with fury" after former President Barack Obama roasted him over his birtherism in 2011, Christie confirms.

Christie told Haberman he doesn't believe Trump "anticipated that people would cause violence up on Capitol Hill" on Jan. 6, but that Trump's months of false election claims led to the insurrection. He rarely disagreed with Trump on policy, Christie continued, and believes their long friendship makes him a credible Trump critic now. He said he won't make any decision about running in 2024 until after the 2022 midterms and won't let Trump's decision factor into his own, Haberman reports, but he also "would not rule out supporting the former president if he saw no path for himself." Read more at The New York Times.