Neither Christie nor DeSantis has announced their bids in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, but Christie said he will make a decision before summer.
“Yes, I’m actively considering it, and I’m going to make a decision, I would say, certainly by no later than early to mid-May,” he said.
The Florida governor has remained tight-lipped about his 2024 plans and is not expected to make an announcement before the conclusion of the state’s legislative session, which ends in May. However, his anointment as former President Donald Trump’s main competitor has made him a target for other ambitious Republicans, including Christie.
Speaking to the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito in a wide-ranging interview, Christie lambasted DeSantis’s recent suggestion that President Joe Biden getting too involved in defending Ukraine was leading to a proxy war with China.
“This is why Gov. DeSantis’s recent comments about not wanting to get into a proxy war with China drives me crazy,” Christie said. “Because if you don’t think we’re already in a proxy war with China, you’re being naive or just don’t understand what’s going on.”
DeSantis said late last month that Biden’s Ukraine policy was effectively allowing for an open-ended war with no definitive strategic objective. He argued that continuing this posture would create a “proxy war” with Beijing.
“They have effectively a blank check policy with no clear strategic objective identified and these things can escalate. And I don’t think it’s in our interest to be getting into proxy war with China, getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea,” DeSantis said in a Fox News interview. “So I think it would behoove them to identify what is the strategic objective that they’re trying to achieve. But just saying it’s an open-ended blank check, that is not acceptable.”
Christie had a similar reaction in the days after DeSantis made the remark, slamming the Florida governor at a private donor retreat late last month.
The former New Jersey governor called DeSantis’s proxy war comments “one of the most naive things I’ve ever heard in my life” before pointing out how the United States is already locked in such a conflict.
“Don’t be fooled by false choices” being pushed by “a fellow governor,” Christie added while lamenting DeSantis’s argument that Biden is too focused on Ukraine at the expense of the U.S.-Mexico border, prompting the former New Jersey governor to wonder how “they teach foreign policy in Tallahassee.”
DeSantis has taken a similar stance on Ukraine as Trump, who Christie has regularly criticized.
While Christie lined up behind Trump in 2016 after dropping out of the White House race himself, he wasn’t thanked for his loyalty and was snubbed over the next four years, never receiving an administration post.
When speaking with the Washington Examiner, Christie returned to his criticism of the former president, saying he failed to deliver on his promise that Republicans “were going to do so much winning that we would be sick of winning.” Christie pointed to a series of disappointing defeats under Trump’s leadership, beginning with the GOP losing control of the House in 2018 and culminating in an underwhelming midterm cycle in 2022.
“So, I’m tired of losing, and I’m tired of being disappointed,” Christie said. “And I think most Republicans are, too. And that argument needs to be made and made directly to the people of our party. And then we’re going to see how they react.”
He exclusively told the Washington Examiner earlier this month that he would decide within the “next 45 to 60 days.”
“I think running for president of the United States is an intensely personal decision,” he said at the time. “And that’s one that anybody who’s considering it should have the right to make on their own regardless of anybody else’s thoughts on it.”