New Jersey GOP candidate for Governor in the state of New Jersey on Tuesday night tried to create even more distance between himself and former U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Ciattarelli has never been a fan of the former President, who he once called a “Charlatan unfit to be President of the United States”, but as the election campaign wore on, he changed his tune.
Last year, Ciattarelli said that he supported to policies of the former President during his debate with conservative Republican Hirsh Singh.
In November, Ciattarelli headlined a rally which has since been branded a “Stop the Steal” rally. After being questioned about his support for Trump and his attendance at the rally, Ciattarelli once again openly declared, “Joe Biden is our President” in his debate against Democrat Governor Phil Murphy.
The Bedminster rally featured “Stop the Steal” signs.
“I have said from the very beginning that Joe Biden is the President. He is the legitimate president. I said that before he was sworn in,” Ciattarelli said of Biden.
Ciattarelli then blamed Trump for the violence and deaths that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
“I believe Donald Trump’s rhetoric is what led to the riot that took place, I believe it was on January 6th,” Ciattarelli said.
The GOP candidate also dismissed his connection to the “Stop the Steal” rally, saying he did not know the event, held outside Trump’s Bedminister golf course was a pro-Trump rally against election fraud.
“C’mon man, your picture and name were on the invitation,” Murphy said. “There’s video of you standing there with a stop-the-steal sign behind you. There were confederate flags. There were white supremacists. It’s the exact same cocktail that lead to January 6th.”
Former New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Joseph Rullo who ran against Ciattarelli in the 2017 Republican primary election criticized Ciattarelli for flip-flopping on the Trump topic.
Rullo who runs the NJ Maga Republicans said Ciattarelli has now flip-flopped on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, his support of President Trump and other stances he claimed during the June primary in which he received just 49% of the votes against conservatives Phil Rizzo and Hirsh Singh.
“What he said is upsetting,” Rullo said. “He threw Trump under the bus.”