Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has served as an adviser to President Donald Trump, has called the president’s legal team a “national embarrassment” and suggested he give up his election lawsuit crusade and respect the election result.
“They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud,” Christie told ABC’s This Week, adding that “if you’re unwilling to come forward and present the evidence, it must mean the evidence doesn’t exist.”
Since Joe Biden, a Democrat, was declared the winner of the Nov. 3 election two weeks ago, the Republican president has launched a barrage of lawsuits and mounted a pressure campaign to try to prevent state officials from certifying their vote totals, suffering another emphatic legal setback on Saturday in Pennsylvania.
Biden received 6 million more votes nationwide than Trump and prevailed 306-232 in the state-by-state Electoral College system that determines the election’s victor.
Biden is due to take office on Jan. 20.
“Listen,” Christie said, CNN reported. “I have been a supporter of the president’s. I voted for him twice, but elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if something happened here that didn’t happen.”
“The country is what has to matter the most. As much as I’m a strong Republican and I love my party, it’s the country that has to come first.”
As some of Trump’s fellow Republicans, like Christie, now break ranks, many, including the most senior ones in Congress, have not.
Adding to Christie’s words, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski tweeted on Sunday that “it is time to begin the full and formal transition process,” noting the courts had thus far found Trump’s legal claims without merit and that the pressure campaign on state legislators “is not only unprecedented but inconsistent with our democratic process.”
Critics have said Trump’s refusal to facilitate an orderly transition carries serious implications for national security and the fight against COVID-19. They have accused him of trying to undermine faith in the American electoral system and delegitimize Biden’s victory by promoting false claims of widespread voter fraud.
“Fight hard Republicans,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning as he pressed his unsubstantiated narrative of voter fraud before playing golf in Virginia for a second day in a row.
Attempts to thwart certification of vote tallies have failed thus far in courts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, in dismissing the Pennsylvania lawsuit on Saturday, compared the Trump team’s arguments claiming voter fraud to a “Frankenstein’s Monster” that was “haphazardly stitched together” using meritless legal arguments and speculative accusations.
Trump’s campaign issued a statement on Sunday distancing itself from Sidney Powell, a lawyer who made baseless allegations of a vast vote-rigging conspiracy at a campaign news conference on Thursday.
“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own,” Trump campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis said in the statement. “She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity.”
Both Giuliani and Ellis attended the Thursday news conference alongside Powell. Powell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s campaign also said it was appealing Brann’s decision to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Pennsylvania is expected to send its county results to its top election official for certification on Monday.
Trump’s campaign has filed a petition for another recount in Georgia. A previous laborious hand recount reaffirmed Biden’s victory by a margin of more than 12,000 votes in the Southern state, a longtime Republican bastion in presidential elections.
— with files from National Post Staff