Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters in Annapolis on Thursday that he advised Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to be "nimble" as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
Christie appeared shoulder to shoulder with Hogan at the Government House, Hogan’s official residence, as Christie promotes his new book.
Christie said Republicans around the country ask him how Hogan became what he called “America’s most popular governor,” and he said he points to the 2015 unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray of injuries suffered while in police custody.
“I think it showed the people of Maryland they had a really different kind of leader here now,” Christie said. “Gov. Hogan’s presence and his honesty and his transparency dealing with that crisis led the people of Maryland to think they made the right choice in 2014.”
While Christie supported Trump during the 2016 election and Hogan has openly criticized the president, Christie and Hogan said they have a strong friendship and political alliance.
But Christie said he doesn’t think Hogan’s popularity translates to a viable primary challenge to President Donald Trump, who Christie said has the approval of four out of five Republicans across the country.
“It’s a pretty narrow landing strip to try to land a primary challenge on,” Christie said.
That doesn’t mean the landing strip won’t widen, though, he said.
“Leadership is about being practical, but also about being nimble,” Christie said. “You have to be ready to respond to any change in circumstances that come in our country. That’s what leadership is expected to do.”
Hogan remained noncommittal about a challenge to Trump, but acknowledged that a political window could open. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to soon complete his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which has already produced more than three dozen indictments.
Of his potential candidacy, Hogan said, “A lot of other people are talking about it; I haven’t been talking about it. Currently it doesn’t make any sense at all, but we just don’t know what the future holds.”