A prominent ally of Donald Trump has urged the US president to abandon his efforts to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in the last presidential election.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie described President Trump’s legal team as a “national embarrassment”.
Trump is refusing to admit defeat in the election and has made unsubstantiated allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
Many Republicans have supported his legal efforts but a small, but growing, number of them have defected.
On Saturday, Trump took a heavy blow in the state of Pennsylvania, after a judge rejected a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to nullify millions of mail-in votes in the state.
In a scathing ruling, Judge Matthew Bran said that his court had been presented with “loose legal arguments without basis and charges based on speculation.”
The move paves the way for the state to ratify Biden’s victory later on Monday. The Democratic president-elect there leads by more than 80,000 votes.
Biden is expected to defeat President Trump by 306 votes to 232 in the US Electoral College, which determines who becomes president, a number much higher than the 270 he needs to win.
What did Chris Christie say?
Speaking to ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Christie said, “Quite frankly, the behavior of the president’s legal team was a national embarrassment.”
He said the Trump campaign has often discussed election fraud “outside the courtroom, but when they enter the hall, they are neither claiming nor discussing fraud.”
“I was a supporter of the president. He voted for him twice. But the elections have consequences, and we cannot continue to act as if what happened here did not happen,” he added.
Christie was the first governor to endorse Trump as a presidential candidate, in 2016. He also helped prepare the US president for his debates with Biden earlier this year.
In particular, Sydney Powell, an attorney who appeared with Trump’s legal team during a press conference on Thursday, said without providing evidence that electronic voting systems had diverted millions of ballot papers to Biden, and that he also won thanks to “communist money”.
On Sunday, however, the Trump campaign issued a statement distancing itself from Powell, saying she was “practicing the law alone” and “not a member of Trump’s legal team.”
A tweet by President Trump earlier this month explicitly named Powell as part of the team.
On Sunday, other Republicans urged President Trump to step down.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s ongoing campaign efforts to nullify the election results “are starting to look like a banana republic.”
Hogan said in a post on Twitter that Trump should “stop golfing and give up.”
Member of the House of Representatives from Michigan, Fred Upton, told CNN that voters in his state, which are from the critical states, “said their word” by choosing Biden, while Senator Kevin Kramer from North Dakota said in an interview with NB CNN was the time to start a transition period, although he did not accept Biden’s victory.
What is Biden’s team doing?
President Trump’s refusal to admit defeat complicated the process that usually follows US elections.
Ron Klein, chosen by the president-elect as the chief of staff of the White House, said Joe Biden would announce his first cabinet appointments on Tuesday.
Speaking to ABC on Sunday, Klein called on the Trump administration to facilitate the transition.
“A record number of Americans rejected the Trump presidency, and since then Donald Trump has rejected democracy,” he said.
He revealed that the Biden campaign is preparing for a “small-scale” inauguration ceremony on January 20 due to the worsening coronavirus epidemic.
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