New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is making it clear that he wants to be the anti-Trump candidate.
During a speech today at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Christie focused intently on the divisions in the Republican party, suggesting that a candidate like Donald Trump would not help them win in November 2016.
“Showtime is over, everybody. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief,” he said. “Showmanship is fun but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America.”
Christie did not mention Trump by name, but explicitly used the term “carnival barker” to describe a candidate in the race–employing a term used by President Obama to describe the billionaire in 2011.
He admitted that the anger in the Republican party was real, but cautioned voters to direct their anger at constructive action rather than destructive politics.
“As voters become more frustrated, angry voices sound more reasonable,” he said. “It’s not enough to express anger–we must elect someone who knows how we get things done.”
“Anger alone is not a solution,” he continued. “Today, as at many other times in our history, America needs leaders who not only identify our problems, but who have the ability to repair our broken system. That’s what this election is all about.”
He urged Republicans to be confident in their ability to defeat Hillary Clinton, encouraging them to focus on healing the divisions in the party. He also cautioned Republicans from dismissing supporters of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson, reminding them that many of the same voters supported presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush.
“For all the talk about the division in our party, I see a strong consensus among Republicans on many if not most major issues,” he said.
Currently rising in political polls in New Hampshire, Christie is working hard to dismiss the establishment challenges posed by Sen. Marco Rubio and former Governor Jeb Bush and present himself as the only candidate who can unite Republicans.
He cautioned Republicans from fretting about the divisive primary, pointing out that even George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan fought bitterly in the primary before joining up as part of a unity ticket which beat Jimmy Carter.
“Strong disagreements within a party can be a sign of strength – if the party can then present a united front in the general election,” he said.
But he also cautioned the party from failing to unite in the 1990s, pointing to Ross Perot’s third party run that guaranteed Bill Clinton’s victory over Bush.
But Christie focused most of his attention on Hillary Clinton, reminding voters that Democrats rejected her in 2008 for President Obama and that she failed to achieve any remarkable results as Secretary of State in Obama’s administration.
“Their slogan for 2016 seems to be, “If you like this government, we’ll let you keep it,” he said, referring to the Democratic party.