The first thing Trevor Noah asked Chris Christie when they sat down for an extended talk on The Daily Show Monday night was, “Are we having a legit conversation or are you going to politician me?”
Christie promised Noah a “totally legit” interview. And he mostly stuck to it, sharing candid anecdotes from his new book, Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden and openly criticizing Donald Trump more than pretty much any other high-profile conservative has been willing do since Jan. 6. But when it came to the question of whether he would support Trump should he become the Republican nominee in 2024, Christie refused to rule it out.
On the one hand, Christie said he was “certainly” thinking about another run for president in 2024 and when Noah asked if he would run against Trump, he replied, “Sure.” He said he felt no pressure not to run if Trump, as expected, gets in the race. “If you believe that you’re the best person to be president of the United States, why does it matter who else runs?” Christie asked. “To me, it’s almost disqualifying to say, ‘I’ll defer to somebody else.’” Then, as an extra dig at Trump he added, “We’re not talking about Dwight Eisenhower here.”
But at the same time, when Noah asked Christie what he would do if Trump wins the GOP nomination, he couldn’t quite get a straight answer out. “Are you going to support him when he goes to be president?” the host asked directly.
“Look, if he doesn’t stop talking about this election as being stolen, then I can’t support anybody who winds up saying that our democracy didn’t work,” Christie explained.
“So apart from that, you would support him then?” Noah asked.
“No, I’m not going to get into every issue,” Christie replied, saying that there are still “some things” on which he still agrees with Trump—and implying that he could still win his vote back. “But to me, this continued obsession—wrongly, in an untrue way—that the election was stolen is just something that I just can’t be supportive of.”
Asked a similar question by CNN’s Dana Bash this week, Christie hemmed and hawed, saying he would “see who [Trump] is and what he says and how he conducts himself” when the time comes, prompting Bash to reply, “In all due respect, that sounds like a copout.”
By the end of his interview, Noah was telling Christie that he “hopes” he runs for president in 2024 for two reasons. “One, because you make things interesting,” he said. “And two, because you are one the few people on that stage who are going to say something real to Donald Trump.”