Business

Trump admitted to Chris Christie that he leaked their conversation about a chief-of-staff job to the media because ‘it was a great story’: book

Donald Trump sitting on a stage and talking into a microphone adjacent to Chris Christie.
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign rally with then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at Lenoir-Rhyne University on March 14, 2016 in Hickory, North Carolina.

  • Trump leaked a story that he’d offered Chris Christie the chief of staff job, Christie’s new book said.
  • Christie rejected the offer, even though Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump urged him to accept. 
  • He released a statement saying he’d withdrawn from consideration to avoid embarrassing Trump.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in his new book recalled being shocked when it leaked that then President Donald Trump had offered him the chief-of-staff job in late 2018. At the time, Trump was on the cusp of booting out his second chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, as the two men’s relationship soured.

Christie wrote in his memoir that he met with Trump at the White House in December 2018 to discuss the offer. Just about an hour later, as he was on the train ride 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 New Jersey governor wrote that he hadn’t leaked the story and doubted Melania did, which prompted him to consider whether Trump really had “someone leak that story even before I’d gotten off the train.”

The memoir said that although chief of staff was a lucrative and powerful position, Christie was hesitant about accepting it because of his strained relationship with Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. Christie had prosecuted Kushner’s father, Charles, when he was a US attorney, and the former governor said Jared Kushner had him booted as the head of Trump’s 2016 transition team because of his resentment stemming from the case.

Jared Kushner called Christie, and Ivanka Trump called Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, to assure them that they would do everything 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 a 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 was expecting to hear.”

Christie said he told Trump he understood his disappointment and was willing to put out a statement saying he’d withdrawn from consideration — as opposed to saying he rejected the offer — “so it doesn’t appear as if I’ve turned you down publicly.”

“That would be great,” Trump replied, according to the book. “I’d appreciate it if you would do that.”

Christie then asked Trump whether he knew who leaked the story about their meeting the previous evening.

“It was a great story, right? It was good for you and good for me. It was good,” Trump said. When Christie again asked him who had leaked it, Trump said, “I did it myself.”

The former governor wrote that the president “sounded very proud when he said that. If I had any doubts about my decision, at that moment they entirely disappeared.”

It was a remarkable admission from a president who repeatedly bashed stories citing unnamed sources and blasted out tweets slamming “leakers” in his administration. 

“Leakers 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’s also repeatedly suggested that those who leak stories to the press are guilty of treason. In one instance, after it was reported that Trump and his family hid in a bunker amid nationwide antiracism protests last year, the president said whoever leaked the story should be executed, according to a book published earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Christie’s book, “Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden,” hit bookshelves on Tuesday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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