Former Trump ally Chris Christie, the first major candidate to endorse Trump during the 2016 election, said that he would impeach the president if he were a member of Congress, arguing that Trump helped to incite the violence that led to the Capitol Hill riot last Wednesday.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” the former New Jersey Gov. said that “there’s not a whole lot of question” over what happened at the U.S. Capitol.
Chris Christie tells @GStephanopoulos Trump’s incitement of Capitol siege is an impeachable offense: “If inciting to insurrection isn’t, then I don’t really know what is.” https://t.co/FnD9YSf2TE pic.twitter.com/rONPP8C0x3
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 10, 2021
“What we had was an incitement to riot at the United States Capitol. We had people killed, and to me, there’s not a whole lot of question here,” said Christie.
Christie added that if Trump’s actions were not an impeachable offense, then he wouldn’t really know what is, though he did scold the Democrats for cheapening the process by triggering impeachment over Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I will say to that the Democrats, by what they did earlier on Ukraine, have kind of cheapened this a little bit too,” said Christie. “These are the types of actions that this mechanism was put into place for.”
That said, Christie said Republican lawmakers have simply had “enough” of President Trump, calling his actions a “national disgrace.”
“I mean, it is a national disgrace … that the flag at the White House is not half-staff for that Capitol Hill Police officer who gave his life in protecting one of our institutions of democracy,” he said. “If we’re having to fit of pique, and that’s why we’re not putting a flag at half-staff, it’s just another example of why people think that these decisions are not being made on the merits.”
Following the 2020 election, Chris Christie rejected President Trump’s claim of vote fraud and demanded to see Trump’s evidence.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the ballot a number of times myself. I’ve won, I’ve lost. And so, as a candidate, you’re even more invested in the integrity of the system,” Christie said.
“If this stuff is going on that the president is talking about … it would undercut everything that we believe in in our system. But as a prosecutor, that’s like asking me to indict someone without showing me any evidence,” he continued. “If you’re gonna say those things from behind the podium at the White House, it’s his right to do it, it’s his right to pursue legal action, but show us the evidence.”
Though Christie did not deny the president’s claim, he said that the case must be made before he inflames such heavy passion in people.
“I wanna know what backs up what he said so that I can analyze it,” he said. “And let me tell you, if he’s right I’ll be outraged… and if he’s wrong then the American people are going to be able to make the judgment about this election that the results have been fair. This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. We cannot permit inflammation without information.”