New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, no stranger to political snafus, may have made his ultimate mistake on Election Night last November, resulting in his removal from then President-elect Trump’s transition team, according to a new book.
In “Devil's Bargain,” author Joshua Green recounts adviser Steve Bannon’s relationship with Trump, but also details Christie’s falling out with the president.
The Daily Mail, citing the book, reported that Trump became irate after Christie offered to use his own mobile phone to set up a congratulatory call to Trump from then-President Barack Obama.
The idea apparently annoyed Trump, who responded: “You know my number, just give it to the president, I don't want your f---ing phone.”
Just days after the election, Christie was removed as head of Trump’s transition team, replaced by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
But Christie slammed the book’s account Tuesday during an interview with MSNBC’s "Deadline: White House" with Nicole Wallace.
“First off, the book is wrong fundamentally, and there was no call from President Obama that evening to me. I didn’t speak to the president that night at all,” Christie said.
Christie said he accepted a call from Obama’s staff as results turned in Trump’s favor.
“If your guy happens to win, how do I get the president in touch with your guy?" the caller asked, according to Christie.
“I said, ‘Just call my phone and I’ll give you his number,’'' Christie recalled. “I turned to the president — to the now-president, to the then-candidate — after that call, and said, ‘By the way, I think they figure at the White House you’re going to win because they’re calling and asking how to get in touch with you after that happens.’ And he was happy about that.”
Defending the President
Whatever happened that night, Christie apparently harbors no hard feelings toward the president. When Wallace asked Christie about the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and others, Christie expressed sympathy for the president’s eldest son, saying Trump Jr. was “by no means a sophisticated political actor.”
“This is a guy who loves his father and got involved in politics because his father got involved,” Christie said. “But I don't think Don would have gotten involved at that level any other time.”
President Trump took to Twitter on Monday to defend his son, drawing criticism from Wallace. But Christie saw the move as a case of Trump being Trump.
"That's our guy," Christie said. "I'm proud he is the president.”
Booed at the ballpark
As if the interview weren’t enough, Christie was back in the spotlight Tuesday night, during a ballgame between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals.
The governor, an avowed Mets fan, made a one-handed grab of a foul ball during the game at New York’s Citi Field, but drew boos from the crowd – even though he gave the ball to a young fan seated nearby.
Christie had recently taken heat after photos surfaced showing him and his family sunbathing on a closed beach during a state-government shutdown over Fourth of July weekend.
Commentators at the ballgame used the foul ball as an opportunity to take a jab at the governor.
“A souvenir for Chris Christie ... are you kidding me? Good to see he got from the beach chair to the ballpark,” said one commentator, referencing the recent beach scandal, according to the Daily Mail.