Chris Christie says Capitol attack was ‘incited by Donald Trump’ to ‘overturn the election’

Christie was on Trump’s 2020 shortlist for top jobs in administration, but passed over

John Bowden
Monday 07 February 2022 18:01
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Chris Christie blames Trump for inciting Jan 6

Former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie broke sharply with Donald Trump on Sunday as the dispute in the Republican Party continues over whether or not the party as a whole accepts Mr Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election.

Mr Christie spoke on ABC’s This Week, where he became the second former top ally of Mr Trump to refute his repeated, continued assertion that Mike Pence had the authority as vice president to refuse the certification of Electoral College ballots from states where the Trump campaign had baselessly alleged wide-scale fraud. The first to battle that view was Mr Pence himself, who spoke at a gathering of the Federalist Society last week.

“The actions the vice president took on January 6 spoke loudly, and I’m glad that he’s finally put words to it. I don’t know why it took him so long, but I’m glad that he did.”

“Let’s call this what it is: January 6 was a riot that was incited by Donald Trump in an effort to intimidate Mike Pence and the Congress” into overturning the 2020 election, Mr Christie continued.

Mr Christie concluded: “He actually told the truth by accident. He wanted the election to be overturned,” adding that Mr Trump’s actions were beneath the dignity of the White House.

After leaving the governor’s mansion in New Jersey under the cloud of a scandal in which his appointees were accused of directing bridge closures to punish political enemies, Mr Christie ran against Mr Trump for the 2016 GOP nomination; he came up short, as did other competitors including Sens Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and became a close supporter of his former rival in the general election against Hillary Clinton.

Once Mr Trump took the White House, Mr Christie was considered a top candidate for a presidential appointment such as attorney general, but was ultimately passed up for the role in favour of Jeff Sessions.

His relationship with Mr Trump has soured over the years and he supported his former ally’s second impeachment after the Capitol riot in 2021. Sunday’s interview with ABC News was not the first time he has said that the ex-president “incited” the attack.

"I think everything that he was saying from election night forward incited people to that level of anger," he told CNN in November.

Mr Trump swiped back at the ex-governor at the time by releasing a statement ripping Mr Christie for his low approval ratings upon leaving office in New Jersey. The statement came in the same form as the attacks he frequently launched against critics on Twitter before his 2021 ban from the platform.

“Everybody remembers that Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9 per cent approval rating — a record low, and they didn’t want to hear this from him!” he said at the time.

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