Christie agreed with the characterization of Trump’s hiring process as “a rolling shit show.”
In Christie’s telling, Trump hired an incompetent national security adviser, Mike Flynn, after being repeatedly warned against doing so in the strongest terms; should not have tapped Tom Price as the Health and Human Services secretary; and erred again by hiring Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Reince Priebus was a poor choice for White House chief of staff, he said, and Jeff Sessions an incompetent attorney general. He doesn’t think Steve Bannon should have been permitted to stick around after the campaign. “And what the hell was Omarosa doing in the White House?” he demanded.
Jared Kushner? He lacks the experience and savvy to be in the White House, Christie said.
Ivanka? Christie said he warned Trump not to give formal jobs to any family members, as doing so would put them in the political crosshairs and hamper other staffers as they walked on eggshells to avoid giving any offense.
A couple of the sexual-assault allegations against Trump may be credible, Christie said, but he doesn’t know whether they’re true and the statute of limitations has passed.
Trump’s call for a Muslim ban was “ridiculous,” he said, and “absolutely not what this country is about.” The fact that Trump didn’t know what the nuclear triad was during a presidential debate scares him “to a degree,” Christie acknowledged. Trump’s statement after the hate march in Charlottesville was unacceptable, he said, as was his criticism of Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation.
In Christie’s telling, Trump’s failure to strike Iran was a mistake that sent the wrong signal. His child-separation policy was “simply the wrong thing to do.” And on immigration generally, Christie said he disagrees with the president.
Read: Echoes of the old Chris Christie and shades of the new
So why does he support Trump? Goldberg kept pressing for answers.
Christie says that after Trump’s showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, he was certain that the real-estate mogul would be the Republican nominee. He felt he could stay on the sidelines or support Trump, gain a seat at the table, and improve Trump’s behavior.
What’s more, he said, even though he has disagreements with Trump, he felt more aligned with the businessman than with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in an unusual election when lots of voters disliked both candidates.
In general, he argued, Republicans are sticking with Trump because they prefer his policies to Medicare for All, college-debt forgiveness, and the Green New Deal, among other progressive ideas, just as Democrats stuck with Bill Clinton in 1996, despite all his bad behavior, because they much preferred his agenda on a wide range of issues.
That’s how the system works, Christie said.
But there’s a glaring hole in his logic.