It was a sight to behold. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of the most vocal and visible faces of the Republican 2024 presidential contenders, was met with a cacophony of boos and jeers after he took aim at Donald Trump for his lack of responsibility.
The exchange at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference was just one of many signs that Republican supporters remain devoted to Trump and his message, a year after his departure from the White House.
"You can boo all you want," Christie shot back as the audience yelled. The exchange served as a measure of the party's engaged portion-- their loyalty to Trump is still alive and well.
Attention at the three-day event focused on the dozens of Republican presidential candidates, headlined by keynote speaker, Trump. His remarks received thunderous applause from the captive audience, which was familiar with Trump's typical surface-level talking points such as criminal justice reform and protecting America's youth.
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson received a standing ovation after voicing his support for Trump. Many of the panels featured former Trump administration officials who offered a reminder of the policies he pushed for while in office.
It became clear that the other Republican contenders have a tough road ahead trying to win over the GOP faithful, with Trump dominating the discourse. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, widely considered Trump's biggest challenger, did not come close to disrupting Trump's grip on the Republican base despite his recent entry into the race.
DeSantis's Friday remarks largely focused on aggressive right-wing stances such as ending Roe V. Wade, and his comments about conceding Republican losses was seen by observers as a veiled bur at Trump. DeSantis did not mention Trump by name, earning no reaction from the crowd.
He has backtracked on his support for Trump's signature criminal justice reform, the First Step Act, which was met negatively by some of those who attended a private dinner he hosted to discuss the issue.
For now, it looks like it is Trump's race to lose. With the President's words still at the forefront of the Republican Party's agenda, the other candidates face an uphill battle in their mission to win over the Republican base, a crucial step in the quest for the White House in 2024.
Trump just read Hunter Biden’s text message to CCP official incriminating Joe Biden in bribery BLOCKS away from The White Housepic.twitter.com/pSym7rjV04
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 25, 2023