- Trump disclosed a story that he offered Chris Christie the chief of staff position, according to Christie’s new book.
- Christie rejected the offer, although Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump urged him to accept.
- He released a statement saying he had withdrawn from the review to avoid embarrassing Trump.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his new book recalled being shocked when it was disclosed that President Donald Trump offered him the post of chief of staff at the end of 2018. At the time, Trump was about to overthrow his second boss. staff, General John Kelly, as the two men’s relationship deteriorated.
Christie wrote in his memoir that he met Trump at the White House in December 2018 to discuss the offer. Barely an hour later, as he boarded the train back to New Jersey, Axios reporter Jonathan Swan had already reported on their conversation, citing a “source familiar with the President’s thinking.”
Christie wrote that there were only three people in the room when the offer was discussed: himself, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. The former governor of New Jersey wrote that he did not disclose the story and doubted Melania did, which prompted him to question whether Trump really had “someone leaked this story before I even get off the train “.
The briefs indicated that while the chief of staff position was a lucrative and powerful one, Christie was reluctant to accept it due to her strained relationship with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Christie had sued Kushner’s father Charles when he was a US lawyer, and the former governor said Jared Kushner started him as head of Trump’s transition team in 2016 because of his resentment arising from the case.
Jared Kushner called Christie, and Ivanka Trump called Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, to assure them that they would do whatever they could to make sure he was successful in the role, but Christie ultimately rejected the offer, in part because he was hesitant that Trump would allow him to function effectively as chief of staff.
When he informed Trump of his decision, Christie wrote, Trump paused for a long time before saying, “That’s not the answer I expected to hear.”
Christie said he told Trump he understood his disappointment and was prepared to issue a statement saying he had withdrawn from the review – instead of saying he rejected the offer – “so it doesn’t appear that I have publicly refused you.”
âThat would be great,â Trump replied, according to the book. “I would appreciate you doing that.”
Christie then asked Trump if he knew who leaked the story of their meeting the night before.
âIt was a great story, right? It was good for you and good for me. It was good,â Trump said. When Christie asked him again who disclosed it, Trump said, “I did it myself.”
The former governor wrote that the president “seemed very proud when he said that. If I had any doubts about my decision, by then they were completely gone.”
It was a remarkable admission by a president who repeatedly criticized stories citing anonymous sources and lambasted tweets criticizing “leaks” in his administration.
“The fugitives are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!” Trump, who is now permanently banned from Twitter, wrote in a May 2018 tweet.
He also repeatedly suggested that those who leaked articles to the press were guilty of treason. In one case, after it was reported that Trump and his family were hiding in a bunker amid nationwide anti-racism protests last year, the president said anyone who leaked the story should be executed, according to a book published earlier this year by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal. .
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Christie’s book, âRepublican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden,â hit shelves on Tuesday.