(The Hill) — Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) sent a message to former President Trump during the second GOP presidential primary debate on Wednesday night, calling the frontrunner out for his absence from the stage once again.
“I want to look at the camera right now and tell you, Donald, I know you’re watching. You can’t help yourself. I know you’re watching, okay? And you’re not here tonight not because of polls and not because of your indictments. You’re not here tonight because you’re afraid of being on this stage and defending your record,” Christie said from his podium on the Simi Valley, Calif., stage.
“You’re ducking these things. And let me tell you what’s going to happen, you keep doing that, no one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore, we’re gonna call you ‘Donald Duck,'” Christie said.
Trump, who boasts a significant lead over the rest of the GOP presidential field in multiple national polls over recent months, skipped the party’s first presidential debate in Milwaukee last month and instead shared an interview with Tucker Carlson as counter-programming. He also passed on the second event in Southern California on Wednesday, opting instead to give remarks in Michigan.
Trump has cited his frontrunner status as a reason for not joining his fellow White House contenders in California. Trump is also campaigning in the face of a myriad of legal troubles including four criminal indictments.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also called out Trump for his absence during the closely watched RNC event.
“Donald Trump is missing in action. He should be on this stage tonight,” DeSantis said