Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got caught on a hot mic Wednesday night saying Nikki Haley would “smoke” the Republican presidential race.
Christie’s comments came as he was offstage before an event in Windham, NH, where he announced he was withdrawing his bid for the presidency. The comments could be clearly heard on the live broadcast of the event.
He was talking about how much money he spends on TV ads — more than both DeSantis and himself — adding, “I mean, who punches above their weight and who gets a return on their investment?”
“He’s going to smoke—you and I know that. He is not up to it,” Christie said.
He also talked about a call he had with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying, “DeSantis called me — he was petrified.”
The Christie campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the comments.
A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that the Florida governor called Christie earlier today — after hearing rumors that he would drop out — to say he appreciates his role in the race, regardless of his decision.
The source also said Christie went after Haley in the conversation, calling her a joke and saying she was doing too well and not up to the task.
Former President Donald Trump poked fun at the hot mic moment by posting campaign rants on his Truth Social account. tweets about it.
“Chris Christie has been a friend for many years,” Haley Christie said in a statement after her announcement. I will lead so that together we can build a strong and proud America.”