Outgoing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he believes he would “absolutely” be the president if Donald Trump had decided not to run, according to a report on Sunday.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing,'” Christie told NJ.com, describing internal polling by his campaign. “And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race I think we would have won.”
Christie, who leaves office on Jan. 16 to make way for Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, also conceded that his standing as governor and presidential candidate was damaged by the “gate” scandals – Bridgegate and Beachgate.
“What Bridgegate did was deprive me of the benefit of the doubt – that’s all. That’s a big thing. But that’s what it did,” he said of the outrage created when two of his associates closed down two lanes of the George Washington Bridge in 2013.
He also said he confronted Trump when the then-candidate during a 2015 rally said Christie knew about the lane closings and told the billionaire real estate mogul to stop spreading lies.
“You know that’s not true, so stop, OK? You want to say other stuff about me? Fine. But that’s out of bounds. Stop it,” Christie said, adding that Trump never brought it up again.