New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie acknowledged on Monday morning that Americans are relating to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, but argued the approval is less about the billionaire real estate mogul himself and more about voters’ overall dissatisfaction with Washington D.C. politics.
“They see somebody who’s never been any part of it. I think that’s more of it than anything else,” said Christie, who has been struggling in the national polls. “Because you listen to some of the things Donald says sometimes and you say to yourself well ‘people aren’t really hearing that.’”
The governor -- who called the reality host a longtime friend of his -- then began to imitate what he called a recent, Trump “stream of consciousness” speech.
“’You know what I’m really good at that no one writes about, what I’m really good at: military. I’m good at that. I’m a tough guy, right, right?’ and everyone cheers,” said Christie. “Well, okay, I don’t know exactly what that means. But what people are relating to is the fact that they don’t like what’s going on in Washington right now … I think it’s less about him than it is about the situation.”
While Christie is in danger of being bumped from his spot among the top 10 front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination – which would mean he’d lose out on participating in the next prime time GOP debate, he insisted on Monday that he’ll have no problem gaining traction.
“You just keep working. I mean the bottom line is the way these primaries always get won are by the folks who work the hardest and develop an organization and then get the vote out,” said the governor, noting at this time, four years ago, Herman Cain was leading in the GOP primary polls. Christie noted he’s held 17 town hall meetings in the early voting state of New Hampshire and recently bagged the endorsement from Speaker of the Iowa House, Rep. Kraig Paulsen.
Meanwhile, Christie released a television ad on Monday accusing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton of thinking “the law doesn’t apply to her.” It’s a message his campaign has been hitting on, criticizing Clinton, who has been embroiled in controversy around her email and use of a personal server during her time as secretary of state.
On “Morning Joe,” the governor said -- as a former federal prosecutor -- he’d want to question Clinton and ask why she was conducting business over a private email server, why some e-mails disappeared when she was under subpoena from the House of Representatives, and how she and her staff handled classified information.
Clinton “doesn’t think she’s accountable to the American people,” Christie said.
A CNN/ORC International poll released last week showed Christie in 11th place, pulling just 3% support among registered GOP voters. If that pattern holds, the governor would not make the cut for CNN’s Republican prime time debate on Sept. 16, in which the top 10 candidates participate. While many of the numbers are tightly bunched within the margin of error, a RealClearPolitics average of polling data also shows Christie in 11th place, thanks in large part to former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina’s recent rise.
A confident Christie recently said he’ll make the top 10. “I’ll be on the first stage,” he told CBS' “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “So don’t worry about it.”