Chris Christie tells Trump to stop inflaming and show the evidence
One of President Trump's top allies publicly rebuked him on Thursday night for failing to produce evidence to support his unfounded claims that Democrats were stealing the election from him.
Driving the news: "We heard nothing today about any evidence," former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC. "This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. And we cannot permit inflammation without information."
Why it matters: Christie is the first prominent Trump adviser to confront the president publicly over his false and inflammatory claims that he has already won the election and that mail-in ballots coming in for Joe Biden are somehow evidence of a colossal fraud against him.
- "If you're gonna say those things from behind the podium at the White House, it's his right to do it, it's his right to pursue legal action. But show us the evidence," Christie said. "I want to know what backs up what he said so that I can analyze it. And let me tell you, if he's right, I'll be outraged and I'm sure you would be too."
- "And if he's wrong then the American people are going to be able to make the judgment about this election that the results have been fair."
The big picture: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is the only other Republican who could be reasonably described as pro-Trump who has so far rebuked the president for undermining public confidence in the election.
- Shortly after Trump wrapped his incendiary press conference on Thursday night, Santorum said on CNN that the president's rhetoric was "dangerous."
- Santorum said much of what Trump claimed was "not factual and was at times incendiary and not something a president of the United States should say."
Between the lines: Republican lawmakers have stayed mostly silent, still afraid to publicly condemn the man who remains the most popular Republican in the country, but unwilling to endorse his baseless claims.
- Trump's eldest son, Don Jr., took to Twitter to attack Republican 2024 presidential hopefuls for failing to be aggressive enough in defending the president. Shortly after Don Jr.'s tweet, several 2024 prospects including Nikki Haley tweeted supportive messages but did not co-sign Trump's most incendiary claims.
- Even Vice President Mike Pence has refused to go all the way with Trump. Pence tweeted this mild statement: "I Stand With President @realDonaldTrump. We must count every LEGAL vote."
- That's not quite what Trump wants, though. Earlier on Thursday, Trump tweeted, "STOP THE COUNT!"