Former President Donald Trump (L) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attend a panel discussion on an opioid and drug abuse in the Roosevelt Room of the White House March 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. Shawn Thew/Getty Images
Chris Christie, who served as a close advisor to former President Donald Trump throughout his term, called Trump’s 2020 election night speech “one of the most dangerous pieces of political rhetoric I have ever heard in my life.” He added that it made him “physically sick to my stomach.”
Christie detailed his reaction to Trump’s speech in his memoir, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden,” which hit bookshelves on Tuesday.
The former New Jersey governor called Trump’s false claims that the election was being stolen from him “untrue” and “simply irresponsible.”
Trump “easily could have said, ‘It’s a very close election. It’s late. I’m going to bed. All of you should go to bed. We’ll get back together in the morning to see where we are. I’m still very confident we’re going to win,'” Christie wrote.
He continued: “But he didn’t say anything like that. Not even close. What he chose to say instead was awful, one of the most dangerous pieces of political rhetoric I have ever heard in my life, certainly from an American president standing in front of the Seal of the President in the east Room of the White House.”
Christie wrote that he watched Trump’s 2:30 a.m. speech on November 4 from an ABC News studio and described how he quickly disagreed with Trump’s approach minutes after the address concluded. He said he attempted to persuade Trump to concede the race after major news outlets projected Joe Biden as the winner on Saturday, November 7.
“I was sitting on the set as he spoke, hanging on his every word, just feeling sick to my stomach, physically sick to my stomach with every new claim,” Christie wrote. “I was thinking, What is he doing? You can’t do that! You can’t say that! He’d better have evidence. Where’s the evidence? What are the lawyers telling him? Where’s the proof? He’d better have proof.”
He added, “The damage done by that speech still reverberates across the country today.”
But long before election night, Trump had insisted he wouldn’t accept defeat and repeatedly claimed that the only way Joe Biden could win is if the race was “rigged.”
“The Democrats are trying to rig this election because that’s the only way they’re going to win,” Trump said at a September 2020 rally.
In the months since he left the White House, Trump continues insisting that he was the rightful winner of the election and that the race was plagued by widespread voter fraud. That’s despite the fact that his campaign and Republican operatives aligned with him have failed to prove a single one of those claims to judges in state and local courts all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Nonpartisan and bipartisan election officials and cybersecurity experts also concluded that, contrary to Trump’s conspiracy theories, the 2020 election was the safest and most secure in US history. And Trump’s handpicked attorney general, Bill Barr, said last year that the Justice Department had not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud on a scale large enough to sway the results of the election.
Despite criticizing Trump in his memoir, Christie recently told CNN that he hasn’t ruled out supporting Trump if he runs for reelection in 2024.
“Let’s see who he is and what he says and how he conducts himself,” Christie said at the time.