Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s relationship with Donald Trump has always been a bit of an up and down affair.
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After his initial role in the 2016 Trump campaign as the head of the transition team, Christie was unceremoniously dumped from that role after his involvement in the “Bridgegate” scandal in his home state began to dominate the news cycles.
Having been passed over as Trump’s vice-presidential pick, Christie failed to convince the then-incoming president to name him as his first Attorney General — a position that he reportedly coveted — and returned to New Jersey to serve out the remainder of his term as governor which ended in 2018.
Christie returned to the Trump campaign for the 2020 election, helping the president prepare for his disastrous first debate with Joe Biden which resulted in a combative performance that many people blame for alienating many independent and moderate Republican voters that may have otherwise been convinced to vote to give Trump a second term.
For his troubles in prepping the president for the debate in the maskless, science-denying confines of the White House, Christie contracted a serious case of COVID-19 that sent him to the hospital as his corpulent co-morbidities and asthma contributed to a particularly elevated level of symptoms.
Christie managed to pull through thanks to his access to two experimental treatments for the disease, but one has to wonder whether he holds any grudges against Trump for putting his life in danger due to the sloppy lack of precautionary measures against the coronavirus at a White House that has been an epicenter of COVID-19 infections.
That question becomes especially relevant after Christie’s appearance on ABC‘s This Week this morning where he told host George Stephanopolous that Trump’s legal team and their efforts to reverse the election results were “a national embarrassment.”
Stephanopolous set the scene for Christie’s denunciation of the legal gang that couldn’t shoot straight by noting that the Trump legal team had lost 34 court cases so far and that the president was attacking any Republican politician who dared to suggest that it was time to concede his loss.
“Is it finally time for this end?” Stephanopoulos asked his guest.
Christie’s response indicated that he was losing patience with Trump’s post-election charade.
“Yes,” he replied. “The president has had an opportunity to access the courts. And I said to you, you know, George, starting at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, if you’ve got the evidence of fraud, present it. And what’s happened here is, quite frankly, the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment.”
“Sidney Powell accusing Gov. Brian Kemp of a crime on television yet being unwilling to go on TV and defend and lay out the evidence that she supposedly has. This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer, and notice, George, they won’t do it inside the courtroom,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor, argued. “They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud, and they don’t argue fraud.”
“I’ve been a supporter of the president. I voted for him twice. 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,” the former governor continued.
“I said it on election night, and I hope more say it going forward because the country is what has to matter the most, as much as I’m a strong Republican and I love my party,” Christie declared. “It’s the country that has to come first.”
With some of his closest allies beginning to join the more moderate Republicans in pleading with the president to return to the land of the rational, one must wonder how much longer Trump can continue to refuse to face reality and delay a transition process that will ensure that Biden is able to hit the ground running on inauguration day.
The handwriting on the wall couldn’t be any larger.
Trump’s obstinance in delaying the Biden transition is damaging both our national security and the fight — one that the president himself has seemingly abandoned — against the COVID-19 pandemic.
How much smaller does the number of his political allies need to shrink in order for Trump to admit defeat?
In the bunker of Trump’s lame-duck period, fed with the reassurances of sycophantic aides, the outgoing president may not even be aware of how politically isolated he is becoming.
Hopefully, senior GOP leaders will be able to talk him off the ledge of his failed coup attempt and put the nation back on a path to normalcy.
The consequences of any other outcome are too frightening to even contemplate right now.
You can watch a video clip of former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on ABC‘s This Week in the excerpt below.
“Yes,” Chris Christie tells @GStephanopoulos when asked if it’s time for President Trump to stop challenging the 2020 election results, adding that the president’s legal team has been a “national embarrassment.” https://t.co/9HKDetYpa5 pic.twitter.com/zuGivUyqYo
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 22, 2020
Original reporting by Joseph Choi at The Hill.
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