Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, has said Donald Trump’s incitement of insurrection at the US Capitol was an impeachable offence, adding he would vote to impeach the sitting president if he were in Congress.
The harsh words from Mr Trump’s longtime ally came when Mr Christie was speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday following the riots.
In the interview, he was asked if many Republicans would vote for articles of impeachment if they were brought to Congress.
“I think [Republicans are] going to have to vote their conscience and look at what happened,” Mr Christie said.
“What we had was an incitement to riot at the United States Capitol. We had people killed. To me, we have no question here.”
When asked if he then thought the incident was an “impeachable offence” by Mr Trump, he responded: “Oh sure.”
Mr Stephanopoulos took his questioning one step further by asking if the Republican would vote for impeachment if he were in Congress.
“Well if I think it’s an impeachable offence then that’s exactly what I would do, George, but I’m not in there. But you want my opinion, that’s my opinion,” Mr Christie said.
“If inciting to insurrection isn’t, then I don’t really know what is,” he continued.
Since the riots, Mr Christie said he’s spoked with several congressional Republicans who were “fed up” with Mr Trump and that “the president’s conduct since then has gotten them upset”.
“It is a national disgrace that the flag at the White House is not at half-staff for the Capitol Police officer Sicknick, who gave his life to protect one of our institutions of democracy,” Mr Christie said, referring to officer Brian Sicknick.
“It’s just another example of why people think that these decisions are not being made on the merits. These decisions are being made purely with an idea of what’s in my own personal desire at the moment on the part of the president, so it’s just wrong,” he continued.
Five people died on Wednesday during the riots, including officer Brian Sicknick. The flags were lowered to half-staff at the US Capitol to honour the fallen officer, but the White House flags, which are controlled by the president, have remained at full-staff.
Mr Trump has not called the family of Mr Sicknick to offer his condolences, according to The New York Times. Vice President Mike Pence, in comparison, has reached out to the family and offered his condolences.
Calls to impeach Mr Trump have circulated among Democrats and Republicans following the events at the US Capitol, and the Democratic-controlled House vowed to start its impeachment process this coming week.