Chris Christie, the outgoing Republican governor of New Jersey, said in an interview published Monday that he would have won the Republican presidential nomination if Donald Trump had not run.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing.’ And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race, I think we would have won,” Christie told NJ Advance Media in an extensive interview.
Christie said that his campaign’s polling showed that he was the second choice for 38 percent of Trump voters at one point. He also argued that Trump did not win because of his nationalist rhetoric, but because of his “toughness,” suggesting that he also portrayed to voters that he was tough.
“What won it for him was his toughness and his outsider nature. I don’t think the other stuff won it for him. I don’t think that’s what people were really reacting to. They were reacting to, they wanted someone down there who was no nonsense, wasn’t gonna take any crap and was going to whip Washington into shape,” Christie said. “I think they felt like he was better equipped to do it than I was.”