Chris Christie blew off some steam right away in Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate, referring to former president Donald Trump as the “Harry Potter” villain Lord Voldemort and shaming his rivals for refusing to name him.
The ex-New Jersey governor, who had to wait more than 15 minutes to get a word in, took swipes at both the moderators and his fellow candidates for being too soft on Trump.
“It’s often very difficult to be the only person on the stage who’s telling the truth, and the only person who’s taking on [Trump],” Christie said, mocking his competitors for “acting as if the race is between the four of us.”
Christie’s campaign has been in the midst of an existential crisis as he continues to compete in New Hampshire but none of the other early primary states. In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, he said he has no intention of dropping out to clear room for an anti-Trump challenger.
Making the most of his limited time, Christie chastised the moderators for not asking about Trump for the first 17 minutes of the debate, referring to him as “Voldemort”—the evil fictional character “who shall not be named.”
Christie implied the rest of the field is “timid” to go after Trump, “maybe because they have aspirations, maybe those future aspirations are now, maybe they’re four years from now,” referring to a potential second Trump administration and the 2028 election. Christie also repeatedly called Trump “unfit” to serve as president.
"The fifth guy,” Christie said of Trump, “who doesn't have the guts to show up and stand here… There is no bigger issue in this race than Donald Trump.”
Later on, Christie shouted at Vivek Ramaswamy, calling him “the most obnoxious blowhard in America."