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Chris Christie says Trump ‘incited’ January 6 Capitol riot but that he’d still vote for him

Chris Christie says Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he actually won the 2020 election ‘incited’ the January 6 Capitol riot, but that he doesn’t regret voting for the former president twice.

‘I think everything that he was saying from election night forward incited people to that level of anger,’ the former New Jersey governor told CNN’s Dana Bash Monday night.

‘I don’t think they wouldn’t gone there if they thought the election had been fair,’ he said, after admitting that he wouldn’t have voted for someone else in retrospect simply because Democrats’ policies are ‘so long term bad for the country.’

Christie’s comments come as he promotes his new book, Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden. 

On Monday, he told ABC’s The View that First Lady Melania Trump called him every day after he contracted COVID at a White House reception, while the president himself was only worried about whether Christie would blame him for catching it.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie admitted that Trump’s rhetoric from Election Day to January 6 ‘incited people to that level of anger,’ referring to the January 6 Capitol riot

'I don¿t think they wouldn¿t gone there if they thought the election had been fair,' Christie said. Above, Trump telling his supporters to 'fight like hell' before the riot

‘I don’t think they wouldn’t gone there if they thought the election had been fair,’ Christie said. Above, Trump telling his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ before the riot

'My point is that I think people minimize what happened on the 6th by pointing to the stage,' Christie said of Trump's speech, noting that his rhetoric had been violent beforehand

‘My point is that I think people minimize what happened on the 6th by pointing to the stage,’ Christie said of Trump’s speech, noting that his rhetoric had been violent beforehand

Speaking to CNN, Christie said Trump’s infamous ‘fight like hell’ speech on January 6 was not the reason for the subsequent riot, in which Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building, resulting in the deaths of five people.

‘My point is that I think people minimize what happened on the 6th by pointing to the stage,’ Christie said.

Christie ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, criticizing Trump for his mocking statements against disabled people and his ‘ridiculous’ Muslim ban – which Trump later enacted. 

He became an ally after Trump clinched the nomination, joining his transition team and being considered for a possible Cabinet-level position.

In an interview with Axios on HBO on Sunday, Christie said he tried to put a stop to the January 6 riot after seeing how Trump’s supporters were turning violent.

‘I tried to call [Trump]… to give him advice on what I thought he needed to be doing to stop the violence,’ Christie said during an hour-long interview with Axios’ Mike Allen at his New Jersey home.  

‘I called Kellyanne Conway first,’ he said, referring to the former senior counselor to Trump who had resigned four months prior. 

‘And I said to her: “Have you spoken to him?” And she said she had not. And she said: “I think we both need to call him.” And I said: “Absolutely.”‘ 

Christie says he doesn't regret voting for Trump twice, despite saying that his claims that he won the 2020 election made him 'sick to [his] stomach'

Christie says he doesn’t regret voting for Trump twice, despite saying that his claims that he won the 2020 election made him ‘sick to [his] stomach’

The Capitol riot, in which Trump supporters sought to prevent Congress from certifying the election in favor of Joe Biden, resulted in five deaths, including a rioter who was shot by police

The Capitol riot, in which Trump supporters sought to prevent Congress from certifying the election in favor of Joe Biden, resulted in five deaths, including a rioter who was shot by police

Trump, above with Christie in 2017, continues to deny that he lost the 2020 election

Trump, above with Christie in 2017, continues to deny that he lost the 2020 election

Christie added: ‘But he didn’t take the call, and so I said what I would have said to him privately on the air on ABC.’

On Monday, Christie recalled how he felt when he saw Trump declare he’d won the election just two months earlier, despite proof that he had actually lost it to Joe Biden.

‘I felt absolutely sick to my stomach,’ Christie said.

‘Physically stick to my stomach watching him stand behind the seal of the President of the United States in the East Room of the White House saying something that I knew at that moment he couldn’t prove was true. But he was saying it as if it was an absolute fact.’ 

He added: ‘You cannot, as POTUS, stand up there and say that he election was stolen from the American people as your first statement as the results are coming in, unless you have concrete proof.

‘That’s the prosecutor in me, I guess.’   

Christie continued: ‘At that moment there was no evidence that the election was being stolen. And in fact, we’re now nearly a year later and there still isn’t any evidence that the election was stolen’

'I could not given what I stand for in my public life, what I've worked for in my public life, I couldn't justify a vote for Joe Biden,' Christie said Monday on CNN

‘I could not given what I stand for in my public life, what I’ve worked for in my public life, I couldn’t justify a vote for Joe Biden,’ Christie said Monday on CNN

‘And he’s still saying it,’ Bash said.

‘Yes,’ Christie said.’

Bash said: ‘You called that speech “one of the most dangerous pieces of political rhetoric I have ever heard in my life.” That’s a big statement.’

‘Well, it is a big statement but it’s true, and all you need to know to back that up is to see how many people today still believe it,’ Christie responded.

On Monday, the former governor said that he would still vote for Trump despite everything.

Christie's book, Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden, is out Tuesday

Christie’s book, Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden, is out Tuesday

‘I wouldn’t change my vote because so many things down there are happening now in the country from a policy protective to me are so long term bad for the country,’ he told CNN’s Bash.

He said he wasn’t necessarily thinking about preserving American traditions or institutions. 

‘If you have a constitutional republic that is driving the constitutional republic off the road, that’s just as bad and you got to stand up against that, too. 

‘You’re asking me in retrospect who I would have voted for knowing everything I know today sitting here and I’m saying to you, I could not – given what I stand for in my public life, what I’ve worked for in my public life – I couldn’t justify a vote for Joe Biden.’

Christie, a Republican, served as governor of New Jersey from 2010 to 2018. He ran for president in 2016 before Trump won the Republican nomination. 

He took a job leading Trump’s transition team after Election Day 2016, but was replaced with then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence amid fallout from the Bridgegate scandal, which led to the conviction of two of his aides for allegedly closing down sections of a bridge in order to hurt a political rival.

On The View, Christie recalled Trump’s reaction after they both caught COVID at a White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Christie said First Lady Melania Trump, above with former President Trump this month, called him and his wife every day after he contracted COVID-19 at a White House event in 2020

Christie said First Lady Melania Trump, above with former President Trump this month, called him and his wife every day after he contracted COVID-19 at a White House event in 2020

Christie spent a week in the ICU. Trump spent three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Trump wanted to know whether Christie was going to blame him for the super spreader event where they both caught the disease, he said.

‘And I said, “Well, I won’t because I don’t know if you gave it to me. It could’ve been Hope, it could’ve been Bill, it could’ve been Kellyanne,”‘ Christie said, referring to senior White House and campaign officials.

‘I don’t know who it was, but what he was most concerned about was that I wasn’t going to blame him.’

Their conversation was quite different from when Melania phoned, with Christie saying she ‘called me every day that I was in the ICU, first thing in the morning, to see how I was doing. And then would call my wife after that to see if she needed anything.’

He went on to conclude: ‘A real contrast between the couple.’

Christie’s book, retailing for $23.49, is No. 1 in ‘Radical Free Thought’ on Amazon.  It was released by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by ViacomCBS.

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