Chris Christie Says Capitol Riot 'Driven From the Top' as Feud With Trump Intensifies

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday said that the January 6 Capitol riot was "driven from the top" in an apparent reference to former president Donald Trump and his allies.

"All the things that you see were driven from the top," Christie said during an appearance on ABC's This Week, in response to host George Stephanopoulos' comment about the events that led up to the Capitol riot, including the role of those loyal to Trump in the White House during his presidency.

"It may explain why the former president and his allies are working so hard not to cooperate," said Stephanopoulos.

Christie responded: "The [former] president made it very clear that he did not want to concede the election, that he would not concede the election, and you got a bunch of people around him by the time we got to the end, with very few exceptions, that were C-team players, at best, on their best day."

Those C-team players, Christie said, would tell the former president what he wanted to hear despite people "on the outside" telling him that "this is over and you need to concede."

"He didn't want to hear that. So he went to the C-team players and got that," Christie added.

The former Republican governor said that the January 6 committee's investigation will eventually reveal the facts relevant to the Capitol attack, but he added, "Let's not kid ourselves. This was a driven-from-the-top process executed by C-team players. And that's why it looks like a Keystone Cops operation, because it was."

Newsweek contacted Trump's office for comments but didn't hear back in time for publishing.

Christie's remarks come amid an intensifying feud with Trump over the former president's claims of a "rigged" 2020 presidential election. Last month Christie challenged those claims during a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Nevada.

"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," he said.

Trump pushed back against Christie's remarks shortly after in a statement: "Chris Christie, who just made a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) in Las Vegas, was just absolutely massacred by his statements that Republicans have to move on from the past, meaning the 2020 Election Fraud...Everybody remembers that Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9% approval rating—a record low, and they didn't want to hear this from him!"

Christie responded to Trump's attacks in an interview with Axios where he said: "I'm not gonna get into a back-and-forth with Donald Trump. But what I will say is this: When I ran for re-election in 2013, I got 60% of the vote. When he ran for re-election, he lost to Joe Biden."

The former governor supported Trump and his policies and said that he voted for him in the 2016 and 2020 elections. He's remained coy about whether he'll run for president in 2024.

Chris Christie weighs in on Capitol Riot
Chris Christie said Sunday the Capitol riot was driven "from the top." Above, Trump speaks as former New Jersey Governor Christie looks on at a panel discussion in the White House on March 29, 2017. Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images