Trump considered running as Christie’s vice president, insider book reveals
Long before Donald Trump smashed through the establishment to clinch the Republican Party presidential nomination, the reality-TV mogul had considered playing second fiddle as Chris Christie’s running mate.
The revelation was made in “Fire and Fury,” an explosive tell-all book released Friday despite a last-minute attempt by the White House to block its publishing.
The book relies on extensive interviews with former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who shockingly questions the president’s competence and who describes a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic."
Trump responded this week by saying in an official statement that Bannon had “lost his mind.”
The book says Trump more recently considered replacing Jeff Sessions as attorney general with Christie, who Trump believed would be willing to “perform kamikaze acts for him.”
Trump was upset by Sessions’ decision in March 2017 to recuse himself from matters involving the Justice Department’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
But Bannon argued that neither Christie nor Trump's other choice — former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — would get Senate confirmation for the post. The book says Trump and Giuliani were the only politicians who the New York real estate tycoon counted as friends before his presidential run.
Wolff says Trump “admired Christie’s straight-talk style, and for a while, as Christie anticipated his own presidential run in 2012 and 2013 — and as Trump was looking for a next chapter for himself with the fading of The Apprentice, his reality TV franchise — Trump even wondered whether he might be a vice presidential possibility for Christie.”
The book says Trump may not have run for president at all had Christie not stepped into the mire of the Bridgegate scandal, which resulted in three of his top officials convicted of federal charges.
Christie did not run for president in 2012, choosing instead to focus on seeking a second term as governor, which he won in a landslide.
Overshadowed by Trump, however, Christie dropped out of the 2016 presidential race and endorsed Trump, whom he often describes as a best friend.
Before Trump settled on Mike Pence, Christie often told reporters that he was not interested in running for vice president, but Wolff’s book says that Christie privately believed he would get the spot on the ticket.
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After the election, Christie served briefly as the head of the transition team before he was demoted.
Christie has often suggested that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was behind this move as payback for locking up his father, Charles Kushner, back during Christie’s U.S. attorney days. But Wolff says it was Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who got her dad to distance Christie from the administration.
“Ivanka told her father that Christie’s appointment as chief of staff or to any other high position would be extremely difficult for her and her family, and it would be best that Christie be removed from the Trump orbit altogether,” the book says.