The initial Republican primary debate occurred on August 23, and notably, former President Donald Trump was absent, allowing the remaining contenders to seize the spotlight. Among them, former Governor Chris Christie stood out, albeit for unfavorable reasons.
Within the debate, Christie strongly criticized President Joe Biden’s economic performance. He expressed his commitment to persuading the nation that the economic strategies of the GOP are most advantageous for the country. Drawing upon his tenure as governor, he cited his ability to promote these concepts effectively, highlighting his success in winning two terms in a traditionally Democratic-leaning state.
Nevertheless, the governor’s track record was not entirely marked by positivity. During the debate, Fox News moderator Bret Baier highlighted a less favorable aspect: New Jersey’s credit rating underwent 11 downgrades under his leadership as the state’s governor. This downgrade had implications for the state’s $37 billion debt burden.
Reports indicate that various factors contributed to these downgrades, including the governor’s inadequate funding of the state’s pension system, the fragility of the budget, and the reduction of revenue by $1.1 billion due to Christie’s implemented estate and sales tax reductions.
Christie holds the unfortunate distinction of experiencing a greater number of credit rating downgrades than any previous U.S. governor. Despite his current attempt to present an optimistic portrayal, the management of the state was notably deficient. He consistently faced criticism for actions that appeared self-serving, extending to instances such as his family’s exclusive use of a closed beach during a government shutdown, a move that drew widespread disapproval.
Subsequently, Christie made an appearance on CNN and voiced his grievances regarding the debate moderators. He expressed his belief that they lacked command over the stage, expressing his disappointment in their limited engagement. He criticized the Fox anchors for not exerting more influence, attributing the lack of substantial debate focus to their inadequate control during significant portions of the event.
It seems that Baier, in particular, delved into Christie’s record without encountering any problems.