During a town hall in New Hampshire this week, a high school student asked DeSantis whether former President Donald Trump's actions that day "violated the peaceful transfer of power."
DeSantis, however, danced around the question. He asked the student where he goes to high school, said the 2024 election was "about Biden's failures" and urged against “relitigating things that happened two, three years ago."
“I wasn’t anywhere near Washington that day. I have nothing to do with what happened that day,” he said. “Obviously, I didn’t enjoy seeing, you know, what happened. But we've got to go forward on this stuff. We cannot be looking backwards and be mired in the past.”
Christie, a former governor of New Jersey, sharply criticized DeSantis in an interview on CNN Wednesday night.
“He wasn’t anywhere near Washington. Did he have a TV? Was he alive that day? Did he see what was going on? I mean, that’s one of the most ridiculous answers I’ve heard in this race so far,” Christie said.
“We had members of Congress who were running for their lives,” he added. “We had people trying to hunt down the vice president of the United States, chanting, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ And Donald Trump the entire time sat outside the Oval Office, that little dining room of his, eating a well-done cheeseburger and watching TV and doing nothing to stop what was going on until it got to the point where even he could no longer stand it."
DeSantis’ presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shortly after launching his presidential campaign last month, DeSantis said he would consider pardoning people involved in the Capitol attack, including Trump, if elected.
In an appearance on a conservative radio show last month, DeSantis said that on his first day in office, he would have his staff examine cases of Jan. 6 rioters, anti-abortion demonstrators and parents arrested over their actions at school board meetings, and he would be “aggressive” in issuing pardons.
“We will use the pardon power — and I will do that at the front end,” DeSantis said, claiming that the Justice Department and the FBI had been “weaponized” to unevenly punish people from “disfavored groups.”
Asked whether he would consider pardoning Trump if he were charged with federal offenses, DeSantis said that “any example of disfavored treatment based on politics or weaponization would be included in that review, no matter how small or how big.”