Chris Christie vs. Rahm Emanuel On Election Results: Both Parties Have A Lot Of Soul Searching To Do

The former N.J. Governor and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel debate the 2020 election challenges:

CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen, the legal theory put forward by his legal team and by the president is an absurdity.

And the reason why the Supreme Court didn’t take it is because it’s an absurd idea to think that any state or any number of states, no matter how good they are, can challenge another state’s right to run the election as they see fit.

And, also, there’s no evidence. As we have — as I have been saying since election night, show us the evidence. And what’s gotten even worse, though, Martha, I think, is the attacks by the president on good, hardworking, decent Republican governors.

And you have seen his attitude towards these folks change. And let’s think about why. Back in September, he said about Doug Ducey, Doug is tough, Doug is strong, Doug is a good governor, the Arizona governor.

He said about Brian Kemp back in the summer that Brian is a capable man, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s done a very good job as governor.

Now, after the election is over, and he lost Arizona and Georgia, he says they’re RINOs that are working harder against him. He’s calling them corrupt, and also telling people things that aren’t true.

RADDATZ: So, Chris, what happens to your party?

CHRISTIE: For instance, in Georgia, he’s talking about signature verification.

Listen, Martha, it’s going to be — people are going to have to stand up and start to say these things. I mean, the fact is, in Georgia — and people should know this — that signature verification, which the president continues to tweet about, has been done twice in this election.

It was done when the application for a mail-in ballot was sent in, and it was done when that mail-in ballot was ultimately sent in. And Governor Kemp has said this. The lieutenant governor has said it. The secretary of state has said it.

And so it’s gone — the reason the Supreme Court is not taking this is not because of a lack of courage. It’s for the same reason that every court has thrown this out. It’s a lack of evidence and a lack of any type of legal theory that makes any sense.

And the worst part, though, is attacking these guys, guys like Brian Kemp, Doug Ducey, and others, who are following the Constitution and executing the oath that they took.

RADDATZ: And, Rahm, New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell tweeted Friday that Speaker Pelosi should refuse to seat the House Republicans who signed onto the Texas suit.

Do you agree?


Look, I think the telling sign there, Martha, is 100 percent is that Speaker Pelosi hasn’t actually responded to that. I don’t think that’s — while Bill Parscale’s fundamentals, a question about their loyalty and a sense of what the oath is, is a legitimate question.

I actually think there’s a bigger challenge here and I agree with Chris on this basic point. You have a fundamental problem in the Republican Party, the energy and I’m trying to remove all of Trump’s mechanics because it’s more — it’s deeper than him. He energizes it, but there’s a core disbelief in democratic process, in democratic institutions with many, many Republicans, way more than just a loud minority. This has now become a majority which is frightening.

You have two generals who are calling for a coup d’etat. You have people that are — attorney generals who are responsible for upholding the law with not just frivolous lawsuit, who fundamentally don’t believe in the results and legitimacy that come from an election.

But I also would think us as Democrats, I would say that we also have a challenge. While the Republicans don’t believe in the democratic process and institution, and that is really, really threatening, in this election outside of basically a transactional decision to support Joe Biden to get rid of Donald Trump, Democrats did not do well with the rest of the ballot. We have a fundamental reflection point to look in the mirror and say, why in the worst public health crisis, the worst economic area since the depression, worst public health in 100 years, that everywhere else and the rest of the ballot which should have been a transformational election, became a transactional election with Joe Biden to get rid of Donald Trump.

And both parties have a lot of soul searching. If we’re going to answer the sole question to the United States, because we are as a crossroads as a country. And I think that, if you look at it fundamentally, both parties are talking to very angry people that don’t feel — and I think this is legitimate — either seen, heard or listened to, and that is a fundamental difference to where we were in the last 60 years since World War II, as a country, of both parties talked to a core group in the middle that believed in a America.

The energies in both parties now are being driven by people who don’t believe that either the economic or political system is giving them legitimacy and being part of that process, and are asking in.

And Joe Biden’s task now is not only to heal the country from a public health and economic crisis, but to heal the country in believing in America.

RADDATZ: And, Chris, I want you to jump in on that, and you talk a lot about what Donald Trump has done, and things he has said, but really address this larger issue that Rahm talks about.

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that Rahm is fundamentally correct about his analysis of the election, you know? And this is why I think the Republican Party will move one and move on briskly after the inauguration because there’s a lot of good things to move on from.

You know, picked up 14 seats in the House appears I think to only lose one seat in the Senate ultimately, and keep control, flipped two state legislatures, flipped the only governorship that was flipped on election night.

Except for the very top of the ticket, the Republican Party had a great night on election night.

Now, I’ll say to you. I was disappointed that the president lost, and I understand the disappointment in the party among some people for losing that election, but we need to face the facts. Elections have consequences. In the same way Democrats were horribly disappointed by Donald Trump’s victory four years ago over Hillary Clinton in what was actually a closer election than this one from a popular vote perspective, and the same margin from an Electoral College perspective.

Republicans now need to say, thank you, Mr. President, for your service. Thank you for the good things you did while you’re in office that we agree with, and we now need to move on to make sure that we’re stating Republican principles that matter to the people in this country, which, by the way, Martha, they supported in very large numbers.

And I think Rahm’s right. That’s the fundamental problem for Democrats —


RADDATZ: And, Chris, I want to — I want to let, Rahm —

CHRISTIE: — and the fundamental challenge for Republicans is to move on. Move on.

RADDATZ: I want to let Rahm have the last word.

And to that point, the polls this week on whether Americans think Biden’s win was legitimate, 34 percent of registered voters think it was illegitimate, but they don’t trust — they don’t trust the election results.

So how does Biden deal with that? We have about 30 seconds.

EMANUEL: I think there’s a multiple way. One, show that government and he can attack (ph) the vaccine. Two, come up with economic policies that create more winners in the economy right now because the last 20 years, we created more losers and very few winners.

And then third, this goes to culture. And this gets to the larger point which on both parties, the energy — I’m not saying the majority — the energy right now is being driven by people who feel they are not seen, they are not heard, they are not listened to, and they are not represented.

And part of what I think Joe’s appeal is going to be, and I think his strength is, is the fact that through his decency he understands the core decency of America. And if he can bring that out from Americans, he can once again create a belief in the system.

Remember, everything Putin’s tried to do is divide Americans, not only among themselves, but from their government. And right now we’re seeing the ramifications of that. And I do think that as the system sees Trump leave, we have an opportunity to get back to the core belief in strengthening America.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much for that, Rahm, and thanks to you, Chris. We’ll see you again soon. Have a great weekend.