Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie shot at ex-boyfriend Donald Trump by hitting one of his well-known pain points: audience size.
“You saw the scenes at CPAC,” Christie said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to the right-wing convention where the former president spoke Saturday. “That room was half full.”
Trump is known to be obsessed with audience size, with one of his administration’s very first lies being a false claim about his inauguration crowd. He has often made exaggerated claims about crowds at his rallies, insisting that they were sold out even when the empty seats were in plain sight.
As Christie noted, Trump’s CPAC speech was moderately attended, with ABC reporting that the back of the room was “almost completely empty.”
Christie said Trump’s empty seat problem extends well beyond CPAC, speculating that the former president doesn’t hold many rallies because he knows the mob isn’t what it used to be.
Trump is using the crowd size “as an example of his own power and his own authority, and I don’t think he has that anymore,” Christie said.
Once a close ally of Trump, Christie became one of the first prominent names within the party to endorse him in 2016 after he ended his own bid for the GOP nomination. Christie was often in Trump’s orbit during his presidency and contracted a COVID-19 infection in 2020 while helping Trump prepare for the debates.
He has since become more critical of the former president, predicting last month that Trump would lose to Joe Biden if he is the 2024 nominee.