Trump ‘Disgusted’ With ‘Stupid Thug’ Christie Who ‘Really Needed To Go,’ Report Says
An explosive report by the New York Post is adding fuel to the rumors of a growing divide between President-elect Donald Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was replaced Friday as head of Trump's transition team and passed over Sunday for White House chief of staff.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who beat out Christie for the VP spot, is the new transition team chair, with Christie still on board as one of several vice chairs. Reince Priebus will be Trump's chief of staff, a post once thought to be a strong possibility for Christie, though Priebus' old job as chairman of the Republican National Committee is now in play for the governor.
But the Post report cites three sources close to the Trump campaign, including one with intimate knowledge of the transition team, who summarized Christie in the eyes of Trump advisers as "a stupid thug who really needed to go." They said Trump is "angry" and "disgusted" with Christie, and that Trump thought it "shameful" the governor did not take the fall for former aide Bridget Kelly and others in the Bridgegate lane closure scandal.
"He believes 100 percent that Christie was behind it all," one source said, reiterating what Trump told a crowd in North Carolina in December 2015.
"The George Washington Bridge. He knew about it," Trump said then. "How do you have breakfast with people every day of your lives, they're closing up the largest bridge in the world, the biggest in the United States, traffic flowing during rush hour. People couldn't get across for six, seven hours -- ambulances, fire trucks. They're with him all the time, the people that did it. They never said, 'Hey Boss, we're closing up the George Washington Bridge tonight'?"
Most of all, according to the Post's sources, Trump is upset about "soccer mom" Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, being sent to jail following her conviction earlier this month. Kelly testified during the trial that Christie had prior knowledge of the lane closures.
"Trump really doesn't like it when married women with kids get hurt in politics," one of the sources said.
According to the Post report, Trump has been questioning Christie's loyalty ever since the Oct. 7 leak of "Access Hollywood" tapes from 2005, featuring offensive comments made by Trump. Christie distanced himself somewhat from the candidate following the leak, but was still standing behind him on election night -- even as insiders said Trump was fuming about the New Jersey Republican's insistence to Charlie Rose of CBS, just the day before, that he'd had no part in planning the Bridgegate scheme.
"Chris Christie, folks, was unbelievable," Trump said during his acceptance speech last week.
What may not be believable at this point, one Post source said, is any remaining chance Christie might have for a Cabinet-level post in a Trump administration. The source called Christie "unconfirmable" for such a position, adding that Christie's "kind of nice Tony Soprano" act has worn thin for a group looking to, as their campaign put it, "drain the swamp."
And yet the outcome could have been so different.
Early Monday morning, CNN — releasing an excerpt from a book about the 2016 campaign that the cable channel plans to publish next month — reported that Trump told Christie more than a year before the election that he did not think he could survive in the GOP primary field, mostly filled with experienced politicians, past October 2015. Were that to have happened, the report said citing a Christie adviser, Trump would have endorsed Christie for president.
Instead, having dropped out of the race in February 2016, Christie became the first ex-GOP presidential candidate, and one of the first establishment Republicans, to endorse Trump.