Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie taunted former President Donald Trump over his participation in the first Republican presidential debate, calling the former president a "coward" if he chooses to stay home.

During an interview on CBS Sunday Morning that included a walk on the Seaside Heights boardwalk with reporter Robert Costa, Christie said he is confident Trump will participate in the debate in Milwaukee on August 23.

"He loves to tease, Bob," Christie said.

USA Today reports Trump in a fundraising letter sent Sunday said it would be "foolish" of him to give candidates a chance to criticize him and asked supporters to decide if he should participate.

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"Finish this sentence for me. If Trump doesn't show up he is a..." Costa asked Christie.

"Coward," Christie quickly responded. "Complete and total coward. A yellow streak so far down his back."

Christie said the rest of the field will not be elevated by Trump's presence.

"He's elevating? I've never seen Donald Trump elevate anything except for the ego factor."

Donald Trump, Chris Christie at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, 11/20/16
Donald Trump, Chris Christie at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, 11/20/16 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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'Flip flopper'

Christie says it was a mistake to support the twice-impeached Trump who is now under several federal criminal indictments, but at the time he believed he was supporting the eventual winner, a person he had known for 15 years.

"I wanted to make him the best candidate, and if he won, the best president he could be. And I make no apologies for that. And I did the very best I could for four years," Christie said.

Christie said that his support for Trump began to erode when he insisted the election had been stolen with no evidence.

In their last conversation, Christie said Trump asked what he should do. Christie advised him to concede and go to the inauguration. Trump said those things would not be happening.

Trump on Jan. 7 released a concession on video stating "a new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 and he would work to ensure a "smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”

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