Chris Christie calls Trump’s legal team a ‘national embarrassment’

Republican condemns election lawsuits as GOP officials urge president to concede

Alex Woodward
New York
Sunday 22 November 2020 17:01 GMT
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie calls Trump's legal team 'national embarrassment'

Republican Chris Christie has joined a chorus urging Donald Trump to end his spurious legal challenges to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, calling the campaign’s lawsuits and unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud a “national embarassment".

The former New Jersey governor told ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the president’s legal team had his chance to provide evidence of widespread voter fraud in court but has failed to do so.

“What’s happened here, quite frankly, the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment,” he said.

On Saturday, Mr Trump’s lawyer Sidney Powell promoted a baseless conspiracy alleging that a software company had bribed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, to rig the election against the president. Her comments followed a week of appearances on right-wing networks alleging fraud and a criminal conspiracy, without providing any evidence, while the president’s lawsuits in states where he has challenged elections results have been roundly dismissed.

She told right-wing news network Newsmax that Georgia – where election officials performed a hand recount of the election results, which showed Joe Biden winning by more than 12,000 votes – is “probably going to be the first state I’m going to blow up” with a “biblical” lawsuit, she said.

She has claimed that late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez engineered a plot with liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Clinton Foundation to rig the results.

But Mr Christie said she is “unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence she supposedly has".

“This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer, and notice, George, they won’t do it inside the courtroom," he added. “They allege fraud outside the courtroom but when they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud."

Mr Trump’s latest election challenges follow years of baseless claims from the president and his allies alleging widespread fraud through mail-in ballots and “rigged” election results against him, without any meaningful evidence from his own appointed voter fraud commission and campaign attorneys.

The former governor, who was among GOP candidates vying for the 2016 presidential nomination, endorsed Mr Trump in that race and has supported his 2020 re-election.

“I have been a supporter of the president's – I voted for him twice,” he said on Sunday. "But elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen. You have an obligation to present the evidence, the evidence has not been presented, and you must conclude … that if you’re unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn't exist."

Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, where the president’s legal team has mounted several legal challenges, has also urged the president to concede, and Fox News host Tucker Carlson has criticised Ms Powell’s arguments after she had refused to appear on the network to present any evidence.

Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan told CNN on Sunday that the president’s legal challenges make the US “look like we are a banana republic" as he condemned a GOP plot to pressure Republican state legislatures to appoint to electoral college representatives to cast their votes for Mr Trump.

“Quite frankly, we used to supervise elections around the world and we were the most respected country with respect to elections," he told CNN’s State of the Union. “Now we are beginning to look like we are a banana republic … It’s time for them to stop the nonsense. It is more bizarre every single day and, frankly, I’m embarrassed that more people in the party aren’t speaking up.”

President-elect Biden has received more than 79 million votes in the 2020 race, ahead of Mr Trump’s roughly 73 million votes.

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