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Chris Christie has strong words for Republicans tiptoeing around 2024

Any Republican thinking about running for president in 2024 needs to go public as soon as they've made a decision, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says — not wait to find out what former President Donald Trump intends to do.

During an interview with Axios on HBO that aired Sunday, Christie said he believes those who "say they will defer to Donald Trump have disqualified themselves from being president. Because if you're not willing to stand up to someone ... how are you gonna be standing up for everyone when you're president?" It should be a given, he added, that "if you believe you have the talent, the ability, the skills to be president of the United States, you shouldn't defer to anyone if you believe you're the best person."

Christie is making the rounds promoting his new book Republican Rescue, and has said he's going to wait until the 2022 midterms to decide whether he'll run for president in 2024. He didn't just talk with Axios on HBO about the next presidential race; Christie also discussed at length his serious case of COVID-19, which he caught at the White House last fall while helping Trump prepare for a debate against President Joe Biden. That, he said, is "the only regret" he has about assisting Trump in his re-election efforts. 

While fighting COVID-19, Christie spent seven days in a hospital intensive care unit, and said the experience was "very scary." He had body aches "like I've never felt in my life," Christie said. "I had very, very high fevers, sweating, difficulty breathing, and brutal headaches. ... I definitely felt I could die." He suggests that those who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 "talk to people like me who have had it, talk to the family members of people who died from it, and talk to your doctor."