It took about 15 minutes before former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was able to get a word in during the fourth Republican presidential primary debate Wednesday — but once he did, he held nothing back.
“This is the fourth debate, the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America,” Christie cried out later at entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who had spent most of the debate interrupting and insulting his rivals.
Most of those insults had been hurled at former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, whose campaign has captured momentum in recent weeks and climbed in key polls. Ramaswamy belittled her time in the Trump administration as a “cup-of-coffee stint at the U.N.” and mocked her inability to name three provinces in eastern Ukraine where he claimed she wanted to send U.S. troops.
“Foreign policy experience is not the same as foreign policy wisdom,” Ramaswamy said. “It takes an outsider to see this through. Look at the blank expression. She doesn’t know the names of the provinces.”
Shortly afterward, Christie came to Haley’s defense.
“Look, if you want to disagree on issues, that’s fine,” Christie said. “And Nikki and I disagree on some issues, but I’ll tell you this: I’ve known her for 12 years, which is longer than [Ramaswamy] even started to vote in the Republican primary. And while we disagree about some issues … we don’t disagree on this. This is a smart, accomplished woman.”
At that point, Christie declared that Ramaswamy would in fact win a nationwide election — for “most obnoxious blowhard” — not the one for which he was campaigning.
As he had in previous debates, Christie also took aim at former president Donald Trump, referring to him as “the fifth guy who doesn’t have the guts to show up and stand here.” Christie also criticized the three other candidates onstage for being hesitant to disagree with Trump.
“Maybe it’s because they have future aspirations. Maybe those future aspirations are now or maybe they’re four years from now,” Christie said. “But the fact of the matter is, the truth needs to be told. … [Trump] is unfit. This is a guy who just said this past week that he wants to use the Department of Justice to go after his enemies when he gets in there. And the fact of that matter is, he is unfit to be president.”