Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the next GOP primary candidate to secure a mayoral spot on CNN, following in the footsteps of former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
The cable news network said anchor Anderson Cooper will host the town hall live at 8 p.m. Monday in New York City.
Voters from the first four states to vote in the GOP primary will attend and ask questions alongside Republicans in New York and New Jersey who plan to vote in 2024. CNN will broadcast the event live without requiring people to tune in with a cable subscription.
CNN’s events with Ms Haley and Mr Christie come on the heels of its polarizing decision to welcome Mr Trump to a town hall that had a friendly audience. CEO Chris Licht, who faces internal pressure from the company, defended the event as an important news-gathering exercise, but others said it was a bad look for CNN to let Mr. Trump delivering lies about the 2020 election to an audience that cheered him on.
Mr Christie, a 60-year-old who served as governor from 2010 to 2018, jumped into the race this week promising to serve as an attack dog against poll favorite Mr Trump.
A poll shows that Mr. Christie has 1% support in New Hampshire, a critical state at the start of the primary, compared to 41% for Mr. Trump and 23% for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is considered the most big threat from Mr. Trump in the race for the Republican nomination.
At a launch event in New Hampshire, Mr. Christie criticized Mr. Trump for losing to President Biden in 2020 despite Mr. Biden’s weaknesses. He said Mr Trump lost because the public was fed up with his lies and narcissism.
“Joe Biden wouldn’t be in office without Trump,” Mr. Christie said.
It’s a reversal from 2016, when Mr. Christie endorsed Mr. Trump for president after dropping out of the GOP primary. Mr. Christie worked on Trump’s transition team, but their relationship soured and Mr. Trump sometimes alludes to Mr. Christie’s weight.
“How many times has Chris Christie used the word SMALL? Does he have a psychological problem with SIZE?” Mr. Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday. “In fact, his speech was SMALL, and not very good. It was all over the place, and no one had a clue what he was talking about.
• Susan Ferrechio contributed to this report.