Christie rebuffs Trump: ‘Bad’ decision to prematurely declare victory
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a top ally of President Trump, broke from the president early Wednesday after Trump falsely declared victory at a press conference that came as many states were still counting ballots.
Christie told news anchors presiding over ABC’s election night coverage that he disagreed with the president’s remarks, in particular with Trump’s baseless allegation that his political enemies were attempting to fraudulently take the election.
“I talk tonight not as a former governor, but as a former U.S. attorney. There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn’t,” said Christie, who previously served as U.S. attorney for New Jersey.
“The argument won’t even start in Pennsylvania until tomorrow, or Thursday or Friday,” Christie added, referring to reports that Pennsylvania election officials in some of the state’s most populous counties had stopped counting ballots for the night.
Chris Christie on Pres. Trump’s election remarks: “I talk tonight… as a former U.S. Attorney. There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn’t.”
— ABC News (@ABC) November 4, 2020
Christie’s break from the president is significant due to his frequent alignment with Trump on political issues as well as his position as an adviser for the president’s debate preparations last month.
His remarks were echoed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R), another frequent political ally of Trump’s, on CNN.
“I was very distressed by what I just heard the president say,” Santorum told CNN analysts and hosts of the network’s coverage.
“The idea of using the word ‘fraud’ being committed by people counting votes is wrong,” he continued. “They’re counting the absentee and mail-in ballots right now. And some counties have stopped counting. Why have they stopped counting? Because it’s 2:48 in the morning!”
Condemnations from the two allies of the president came as journalists and political pundits across numerous networks and media organizations roundly denounced the president’s remarks.
Pence spoke moments after Trump at the same press conference, acknowledging that many votes were still being counted and stating that he believed the pair would win another term in office, remarks that differed in tone from the president.
Several battleground states crucial to both Trump’s reelection and former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) campaign, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin remained uncalled as of 4 a.m. EST on Wednesday.
The former vice president also appears to be making up ground in Georgia, although Trump still leads there by close to 2 percentage points.
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