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Former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer came out swinging Monday morning on The View when she pressed Chris Christie on his idealistic vision of the Republican Party. While Christie calls upon the GOP to move on from Trumpism in his new book, "Republican Rescue," Setmayer insisted that this portrayal is at odds with the reality of our current political landscape. "You're talking about a Republican Party in this book that doesn't exist!" said the guest co-host. "This doesn't exist!"
Given Christie's recent anti-Trump pivot, his appearance on The View was relatively tame — until Setmayer came armed with receipts. The Republican-turned-independent picked up on an earlier conversation about the January 6 insurrection, the blame for which Christie laid at Trump's feet, and reminded him that "147 Republicans voted not to certify the election" and "Kevin McCarthy and the leadership of the Republican Party is continuing" to stand by the Big Lie and "allow Trump to say it."
"You say here on page 205, 'If the future of the Republican Party requires silence in the face of that, count me out,'" said Setmayer. "How do you reconcile this? I spent 27 years in the Republican Party, and I'm devastated by what happened, and so I wonder how you reconcile all that in your book."
"The book is the way to do it," replied Christie. "Leadership comes in all kinds of different forms. You're not always going to be popular when you're taking a different position and trying to lead your party in a new direction. And so part of the reason for the book is to say, 'Here's a new way for us to go. We don't have to be looking backwards and keep doing that.' And for those 147 people who voted the way they did, some of them actually believe it. That's a smaller percentage."
When Setmayer said that "leadership is letting them get away with it" and questioned his vision of the GOP, Christie insisted "that Republican Party does exist." Added the former New Jersey governor, "It may not exist in Washington, D.C., but it exists around the country. And when I travel around the country and talk to regular Republicans who live in neighborhoods and cities all across this country, they don't believe this stuff. But they're looking for someone to fill that vacuum and for leaders to come out and say, 'You don't have to believe this stuff.' That's what the book is about."
If you enjoyed Setmayer's "straight-talking" style, you're in luck: the conservative is slated to return to The View Tuesday for her second (and final) day as guest co-host.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.