(MANCHESTER, N.H.) -- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he is running for president Tuesday, adding a firm anti-Trump voice to a still growing Republican primary field that has been hesitant to directly take on the former president and early front-runner.
"At every pivotal moment in our history, there was a choice between small and big -- and America became the most different, the most successful, the most fabulous light for the rest of the world in history because we always picked big," Christie said at a town hall event at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, kicking off his campaign.
"The reason I'm here tonight is because this is one of those moments," he said.
At the end of a roughly 30-minute speech, Christie, invoking a past conversation between President John Adams and first lady Abigail Adams, vowed to the audience: "I can't guarantee to you success in what I'm about to do, but I guarantee you that at the end of it, you will have no doubt in your mind who I am and what I stand for and whether I deserve it."
"So that's why I came back to Saint Anselm ... to tell all of you that I intend to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2024 and I want your support," he said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, before he began taking questions from attendees, Christie repeatedly called out Trump as "self-serving" and "self-consumed" and a "mirror hog" incapable of admitting any fault or mistakes.
Christie, a former ABC News contributor, kicked off his campaign in a key early primary state that was also a focus for the former governor during his 2016 campaign, his first attempt at winning the White house.
That bid ended days after the "first-in-the-nation" primary, where he placed sixth despite his extensive efforts in the state. Soon after he dropped out, he endorsed then-candidate Trump and continued to largely back Trump throughout his presidency.
That changed after rioters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, following a monthslong campaign by Trump and his allies to delegitimize the results of the 2020 election by alleging mass fraud. No evidence has arisen to support those false claims.
Christie joins an already large field that in addition to the former president includes former Ambassador to the U.N. and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is currently polling in second behind Trump.
In reaction to Christie's campaign launch, a pro-Trump super PAC mostly focused instead on the former president's current chief rival, writing in a statement, "Ron DeSantis is not ready for this moment, and Chris Christie will waste no time eating DeSantis' lunch."
Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor who served Trump's loyal vice president until the events of Jan. 6, on Monday filed paperwork for his presidential candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and is expected to formally announce his long-expected campaign Wednesday in Iowa.
Doug Burgum, the relatively nationally unknown governor of North Dakota, is also expected to launch his campaign Wednesday.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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