🔴 Former NJ Gov. Chris Christie is aggressively attacking Donald Trump

🔴 He has consistently polled in the single digits before announcing his run

🔴 Trump aggressively came back at Christie's announcement digs

Former Gov. Chris Christie made it clear at a town hall-style meeting in New Hampshire that he is targeting former President Donald Trump in his second presidential campaign.

Christie, who gave Trump one of his first major endorsements after dropping out of the 2016 presidential campaign, was part of the president's inner circle of advisors. But when Trump kept claiming the 2020 presidential election was "stolen," Christie distanced himself and became one of his most vocal critics.

It is that aggressiveness that his backers hope makes him a viable option. Christie's PAC is called "Tell It Like It Is."

Speaking to an audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, the Republican minced no words about how he feels about his former friend, calling him a "lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog" who is not a leader.

Christie also compared Trump to the evil Lord Voldemort from the "Harry Potter" books and movies.

"He is 'He Who Shall Not Be Named.' Let me be clear, in case I have not been already.  The person I am talking about, who is obsessed with the mirror, who never admits a mistake, who never admits a fault, who always finds someone else and something else to blame for whatever goes wrong — but finds every reason to take credit for anything that goes right, is Donald Trump."

Voldemort is the main enemy of Harry Potter who killed his parents. He is the leader of the Death Eaters whose mission is to rid the world of "muggles," or non-magical people with Voldemort as the world's supreme leader.

Making the world smaller

Christie blamed Trump for making the country smaller.

"He made us smaller by dividing us even further and pitting one group against another, different groups pitted against different groups every day."

Current President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama are guilty of the same thing, according to Christie.

"They led us to being small — small by their example, small by the way they conduct themselves, small by the things they tell us we should care about. They're making us smaller by dividing us into smaller and smaller groups."

Trump responded on his social media platform Truth questioning whether his use of the word "small" was indicative of a "psychological problem with size."

"His speech was SMALL and not very good. It rambled all over the place and nobody had a clue of what he was talking about. Hard to watch, boring, but that's what you get from a failed governor who left office with a 7% approval rating and then got run out of New Hampshire. This time it won't be any different."

Taking on Trump the way to win

In a June 2017 Quinnipiac poll in June 2017, Christie's disapproval rate was at 15%, the lowest ever for a sitting governor. Trump in the same poll had a 28% approval rate. Christie finished sixth in the 2016 New Hampshire primary.

“The reason I’m going after Trump is twofold," Christie said. "One, he deserves it. And two, it’s the way to win.”

Christie will test the appetite among Republican voters for someone who has expressed support for many of Trump's policies but has criticized the former president's conduct. The former governor has urged the party to move on or risk future losses.

He has stayed in the public eye as a paid ABC News contributor including weekly appearances on the Sunday morning show "This Week." Before making his run official, Christie polled under 5% in surveys about potential 2024 presidential candidates.

(Includes material copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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