Chris Christie: ‘Trump incited a riot’ on Jan. 6
As former Gov. Chris Christie continues to mull another run for president, he also continues to distance himself from former President Donald Trump.
Speaking on ABC's This Week and In perhaps his harshest criticism yet, Christie was blunt, "Jan. 6 was a riot that was incited by Donald Trump in an effort to intimidate Mike Pence and the Congress into doing exactly what he said in his own words last week."
Christie was referring to Trump's statement last week when he again falsely claimed former Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the election.
"Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!" Trump said.
"He actually told the truth by accident," Christie said on ABC, "He wanted the election to be overturned."
The former governor and federal prosecutor had been one of Trump's biggest supporters and defenders, but has been sharply critical of the former president since the Jan. 6 incursion by supporters into the U.S. Capitol.
Last November, Christie released his new book, Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden.”
It was in the book that Christie laid out his plan for saving the Republican party, and it started with a condemnation of Trump for claiming the election was "stolen."
"Joe Biden won. Donald Trump did not,” Christie wrote, "That is the truth. Any claim to the contrary is untrue.”
As Christie gets closer to deciding if he will undertake another White House run, his criticism of the former president has only intensified as he tries to separate himself from Trump and his supporters.
There remains strong support for Trump to run again, and many potential GOP candidates have opted to wait for him to announce a decision before launching their own bid.
Christie has said he will not defer to Trump when deciding his own future.
New Jersey's former governor is not the only anti-Trump Republican considering a run, however.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been a vocal Trump opponent and is rumored to be considering a run for president. Unlike Christie, Hogan has never been a Trump backer. He endorsed Christie over Trump in the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary.
Political analysts say if Hogan does run, it will make Christie's path to the presidency that much more difficult and similar to when Christie ran against Trump in 2016.
Christie had banked on selling himself as a tough-talking, tell-it-like-it-is candidate, but Trump grabbed that reputation away from him. Christie dropped out of the race in February of 2016 after a distant finish in New Hampshire and endorsed Trump.
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