STORY: Donald Trump supporter turned critic Chris Christie joined the Republican race for president on Tuesday,
attacking the man he became an adviser to during the 2016 election.
"Let me be very clear. I am going out there to take down Donald Trump but here’s why. I want to win and I don’t want him to win."
The former New Jersey governor presented himself as the only Republican contender willing to directly attack Trump at a town hall-style event in New Hampshire on Tuesday night.
This is Christie’s second run for the top job.
The former federal prosecutor ran for president during the 2016 election season but dropped out after a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary.
He then became the first major party figure to throw his support behind Trump but has since been a vocal critic of the former president after his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
At Christie's campaign launch, he went on to accuse past and present leaders of both the Republican and Democrat parties of dividing Americans.
"Donald Trump made us smaller by dividing us even further and pitting one group against another, different groups pitted against another. And now Joe Biden is doing the very same thing just on the other side of the political divide. He ran promising us that he was going to bring the country together. That he was going to unite us, that he was going to bring a new sense of unity to the United States. And instead, what he decided to do, was to take his groups and divide them even smaller and actively pit them against Republicans."
Public opinion polls so far show Christie is not faring well.
The 60-year-old gained the support of just one percent of potential Republican primary voters in a Reuters Ipsos poll in May, compared to Trump's 49 percent and 19 percent for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Other Republicans seeking the party's nomination to challenge President Joe Biden include former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and U.S. Senator Tim Scott.
Trump's former vice president, Mike Pence, is set to enter the race on Wednesday.