▶ Watch Video: Chris Christie says Trump is “his own worst enemy” in documents case, talks 2024 race

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said former President Donald Trump “knows he’s in trouble” for alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. 

Christie, a vocal critic of Trump, described the charges the former president faces as “horrible political and legal strategy” and said that over time, voters “are not going to buy” his claims.

“The problem for Donald Trump in all of this is his own conduct. He’s his own worst enemy,” Christie said. “None of this would have happened to him or to the country if he had just returned the documents.”

Christie spoke to “CBS Mornings” Tuesday following Trump’s first interview since he was indicted on 37 federal counts. As a former prosecutor, Christie said it appears that Trump admitted to obstruction of justice in the interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, and believes Trump’s lawyers aren’t pleased with the former president’s comments.

Despite the ongoing legal troubles, many members of the Republican Party appear hesitant to openly criticize Trump. Christie said “a lot of people” are afraid of the former president and afraid that any negative comments about him could result in them losing support from voters.

Christie, who announced he is running for the Republican nomination for president earlier this month, said he is not afraid because he has known Trump for 22 years and Trump is a “paper tiger.”

“I care much more about my country than I’ll ever be afraid of him,” he said.  

As Christie campaigns, he aims to differentiate himself from Trump by focusing on “big issues” like inflation. 

When asked where he stands on the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision regarding the consideration of race in college admissions, Christie said “you’ve got to take everything into account about a person’s circumstance when they’re coming to college.”

“Everything should be considered, where they’ve gone to school, how they’ve been brought up. And all those things, socioeconomic things, need to be considered because if you’re just looking at a dry transcript and an SAT score, that doesn’t tell you everything about a person and what their possibility for success is,” he said.

He also shifted the conversation to talk about school choice, saying a federal program should allow parents to choose the best educational environment for their children.

It doesn’t “matter whether you’re Black or White or brown. If you’re poor in this country and you’re in a poor school district, you have much less of a chance of getting a great education,” Christie said. “Parents should be able to make the choice … and not [be] stuck in some failure factory in a city or in our rural areas.” 

Despite having low poll numbers, Christie believes that “campaigns matter” and is looking forward to speaking to voters.

I’m “not shy,” he said. “I’ll make the case.”