Chris Christie conducted a mock trial of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday at the podium of the Republican convention, winding up delegates into furious chants of “Lock Her Up, Lock Her Up.”
Wielding a rhetorical pitchfork, the New Jersey governor and 2016 presidential primary rival of nominee Donald Trump thundered that Clinton was guilty of monumental policy and character failures that he said disqualify her from the presidency.
"As a former federal prosecutor, I welcome the opportunity to hold Hillary Rodham Clinton accountable for her performance and her character,” he said.
Point-by-point, the former prosecutor leaned on the political jury box and served up a conservative-inspired case against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. It was a raucous prime-time twist on well-worn Republican grievances.
He led the crowd through the “facts” of her record and asked them for its verdict on her mishandling of classified information on a private email server, her conduct of foreign affairs in the Libya, Syria, Russia and Cuba as secretary of state, and her votes in the Senate to back China financing of U.S. government stimulus spending in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
“Guilty or Not Guilty?” he asked. “Answer me now!”
“Guilty!” came an angry growl from fist-pumping, red-faced delegates that rose from the red-white-and-blue throng.
Christie, who earlier this year hoped to be the one accepting the party’s presidential nomination and then was a finalist for the ticket, is valued for his blunt persona and willingness to pummel political rivals. As advertised, he delivered just what Trump wanted.
“Time after time after time, the facts, and just the facts, lead you to the same verdict both around the world and here at home,” Christie said.
“Here it is everybody, we didn’t disqualify Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. The facts of her life and career disqualify her,” he concluded.
The crowd then threw itself into another frenzy.