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Chris Christie blames Trump’s rhetoric about stolen election for January 6 insurrection

<i>Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP</i><br/>
Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP

By Rachel Janfaza

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he believes the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6 was the result of former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

“I think everything that he was saying from Election Night forward incited people to that level of anger,” Christie, a longtime friend and high-profile supporter of Trump, told CNN’s Dana Bash in “Being… Chris Christie,” the second episode in Bash’s “Being…” series, which will air in full on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

“I think people minimize what happened on the 6th by pointing to the speech that he gave on the Ellipse on the 6th,” he said.

Christie, a failed contender in the 2016 primary, says he voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020. He also served as an adviser to the then-President, helping him prepare for the presidential debates ahead of last year’s election.

But Christie has been outspoken against Trump’s lies about the 2020 election results.

Asked by Bash if Trump was responsible for the insurrection, Christie said that while he doesn’t believe any one single person can be responsible for the actions of others, he does believe rioters attacked the Capitol that day because they thought the election had been stolen — a lie that was fed by Trump.

“I don’t think they would’ve gone there if they thought the election had been fair,” Christie said.

Christie, whose new book “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden” comes out Tuesday, has in recent weeks been vocal about his vision for the future of the GOP. He’s delivering a message to Republicans that the only way for the party to continue building on this month’s electoral successes in Virginia, where the GOP won the governor’s mansion, and in his home state of New Jersey, where the GOP nominee kept it closer than expected, is to move beyond past elections.

He told Bash he does not want to make predictions about 2024 and is unsure whether he or Trump will run again. “I don’t know that he’s going to run. I don’t know whether I’m going to run,” he said.

But despite his criticism of Trump’s rhetoric, he did not rule out supporting the former President again in 2024 if he runs. “Let’s see who he is and what he says and how he conducts himself,” Christie said.

Christie was just one of a half-dozen potential GOP contenders for the White House who addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition conference earlier this month in Las Vegas, laying the groundwork for their potential bids as the party waits to see whether Trump attempts another run for the Oval Office in 2024.

“We can no longer talk about the past and the past elections — no matter where you stand on that issue, no matter where you stand, it is over,” Christie told some of the Republican Party’s most influential donors and bundlers. “Every minute that we spend talking about 2020 — while we’re wasting time doing that, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country. We better focus on that and take our eyes off the rearview mirror and start looking through the windshield again.”

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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