On March 19 2023, a screenshot of a tweet attributed to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about former U.S. President Donald Trump and “ham sandwiches” began circulating on Twitter:
In a screenshot dated March 18 2023, Christie’s purported tweet read:
“I’ve eaten ham sandwiches with more loyalty to the United States than Donald Trump.”
Veracity aside, a few elements of the tweet benefited from additional context.
Chris Christie: His Career and Relationship With Donald Trump
Republican Chris Christie was New Jersey’s governor until 2018; Christie himself came to national attention in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as recounted in this Politico story from January 2013:
A day after House GOP leadership unexpectedly tabled a bill that would provide $60 billion in post- Hurricane Sandy aid to New York and New Jersey, Christie stood at a press conference in the Trenton statehouse and decried the “selfishness” and “duplicity” at play, adding: “There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering. The House majority and their speaker, John Boehner.”
Local media and elected officials, along with some national pundits, heaped praise on the governor, who spoke with characteristic bluntness (and the first leg of the bill passed the House overwhelmingly on Friday). Still, Christie hit some headwinds nationally from conservatives — including Christie fans — who thought he may have gone overboard hitting an already-diminished national Republican brand. On the party’s right flank, some telegraphed a clear sentiment that Christie’s straight-talking truth teller act had worn on them.
Christie castigated fellow Republicans for what he characterized as partisan bickering.
Christie’s relationship with former Donald Trump was notoriously volatile — Christie and Trump both sought the 2016 Republican nomination. After Trump secured it, the pair forged what would become an on-and-off political alliance:
Despite having criticized Donald Trump prior to leaving the race, [Christie] endorsed Trump on February 26, 2016. On May 9, 2016, Trump named Christie to head a transition team in the event of a Trump presidency. He soon emerged as a major power with the Trump campaign.
Trump considered Christie as a potential vice-presidential running mate, and he was on the shortlist alongside former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Trump passed over Christie and selected Pence. The subject’s transition list for likely candidates for Trump’s National Security Adviser did not include Michael Flynn, but rather, Peter Pace and William H. McRaven.
Christie also extended help to Trump in his unsuccessful 2020 re-election campaign. However, like many of his fellow Republicans, Christie distanced himself from Trump after the loss. On March 5 2023, TheHill.com reported:
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on [March 5 2023] said former President Trump isn’t “what he used to be” after the former president touted his 2024 campaign in remarks to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the day before.
“Look, he is the front-runner. There’s no doubt, he’s essentially an incumbent president running for renomination — not reelection, but renomination — and so of course, he’s the front-runner right now and ahead in the polls. But there are lots of indicators here, that he’s not what he used to be,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”
On March 19 2023, Christie participated in a panel on ABC’s “This Week,” and the network shared a clip of Christie stating Trump “only profits and does well in chaos and turmoil”:
Indictments and Ham Sandwiches
A common American legal axiom about indictments and ham sandwiches was the subject of a 2016 AboveTheLaw.com article (“Criminally Yours: Indicting A Ham Sandwich”), where the origin of the expression was explained:
As New York Judge Sol Wachtler said in 1985, “If a district attorney wanted, a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”
Christie appeared on ABC on March 19 2023, while at the same time, Trump associate and disgraced lawyer Alan Dershowitz appeared on NewsMax. Newsweek.com quoted Dershowitz on Trump’s supposedly “imminent” indictment:
During a [March 19 2023] interview with the conservative news channel, Newsmax, Dershowitz said he expects Trump will be indicted and convicted in New York City because of what he viewed as the city’s unfair legal system. He also added that Trump can still run for president and even serve in office from prison if convicted.
“He will be indicted,” Dershowitz said. “In New York, you can indict a ham sandwich. In New York City, you can convict a ham sandwich because the jury pool is so unfair. Even if he’s convicted, he can run for president. He can run for president from prison; he can even serve as president from prison.”
Christie’s Ham Sandwich Tweet
Large text at the bottom of the screenshot marked it as “PARODY,” and a Twitter bio for the account @FaithRubPol explained:
Trying to understand this crazy world & get a few laughs. Most of our screenshots are parodies.
A popular March 19 2023 screenshot suggested former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted “I’ve eaten ham sandwiches with more loyalty to the United States than Donald Trump.” Both Christie and Dershowitz appeared on news panels on March 19 2023 to discuss the putative indictment of Donald Trump. However, this tweet and the account posting it both featured prominent labels identifying the content as satirical.