Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was mocked online Wednesday night after he tried to give Donald Trump a new nickname: “Donald Duck” during the second presidential debate.
“I want to look into the camera now and tell you, Donald, I know you’re watching, you can’t help it,” Mr. Christie said.
“You are not here tonight, not because of the polls and not because of your charges. You are not here tonight because you are afraid to stand on this stage and defend your record. You duck these things.”
“Let me tell you what’s going to happen,” he continued. “You keep doing this and no one up here will call you Donald Trump anymore. We’ll call you Donald Duck.”
The comments, which were met with a mix of cheers and boos in the debate hall, were immediately mocked online.
Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly said on X that the “‘Donald Duck’ line was lame.”
Daily Beast Reporter Justin Baragon, meanwhile, said The insult shows: “We have now reached a new level of fear.”
Despite the jokes at his expense, Mr. Christie appeared to double down on his nickname, with his campaign tweeting a Donald Duck GIF on X on Wednesday.
Several people compared Chris Christie’s awkward face after making his nickname “Jab” to a popular meme in which comedian Kevin James shrugged his shoulders.
“Christie literally made the meme with the Donald Duck line,” Greg Price of the State Freedom Caucasus Network wrote on X.
Flint-based water activist Mari Copeny, meanwhile, said the nickname was not an insult to Donald Trump, but to Donald Duck.
“The real Donald Duck did not deserve this kind of slander,” she said wrote online.
Mr Christie’s dig at Donald Trump was not the only insult directed at the former president during the debate.
After the first Republican debate, in which the candidates largely avoided denouncing the former president, this time several finally turned the tables on him.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ultimately called on Mr Trump to avoid facing his opponents – as the former president chose to make a campaign stop at a non-union auto plant in Michigan rather than attend the debate in Simi Valley to attend. California.
“Where is Joe Biden?” Mr. DeSantis said during the debate.
“He completely lacks leadership skills. Do you know who else is missing from action? Donald Trump is missing from action. He should be on this stage tonight.”
He continued: “He owes it to you to defend his record of adding $7.8 trillion to the debt. That laid the foundation for the inflation we have now.”
Mr. Christie continued to take aim at Mr. Trump elsewhere during the debate.
“Donald Trump is hiding behind the walls of his golf clubs and is not going to show up here to answer questions like the rest of us are up here to answer them,” he said.
“He’s put $7 trillion on the debt, he should be in this room to answer these questions for the people you’re talking about who are suffering.”
In addition to lambasting Mr. Trump over his absence, there were also tense moments between the candidates, particularly when Ms. Haley sharply criticized Mr. Ramaswamy over his decision to open an account on the Chinese social media platform TikTok.
The former South Carolina governor told the entrepreneur and political newcomer: “Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little more stupid for what you say.”
Other candidates chose to shout and interrupt each other – and the moderators – while trading insults on various topics.
The candidates also managed to elicit groans with references to the marital relationships of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom are married to teachers.
At his rivalry rally on Wednesday night, Trump didn’t shy away from throwing his own nicknames at his political candidates.
In a rambling speech to auto workers, he described President Joe Biden as “like a miserable old vulture trying to take down his prey.”
Throughout his political career, the former president was notorious for hurling childish nicknames at his political rivals.
During the 2016 presidential election, he attacked his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, calling her “crooked Hillary.”
He also taunted Senator Elizabeth Warren with the racial slur “Pocahontas” over accusations that she falsely claimed she was of Native American heritage.
After he took office, the offensive nicknames didn’t stop and when he ran against President Joe Biden in the 2020 race, he adopted the nickname “Sleepy Joe” for the eventual winner.
It’s a nickname that has stuck with Mr. Trump’s supporters and the right-wing media, even though Mr. Biden has tried to rebrand himself with a derisive name: “Dark Brandon.”
During the November 2022 midterm elections, Mr. Trump’s attention turned to Mr. DeSantis, whom he sees as his main rival for the Republican nomination in 2024.
As the two men held competing rallies in Florida in the final days before the midterm elections, Mr. Trump debuted his prized award “Ron DeSanctimonious” Nickname. Several reports surfaced that he was also considering other options, including “Meatball Ron.”
Other options are currently being considered Bloomberg, These included “Ron DisHonest,” “Ron DeEstablishment,” and “Tiny D.”
He also came under fire for repeated racist attacks on former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Now it remains to be seen whether Mr. Trump’s new nickname will stick.