Chris Christie:  I’d Be President Now If It Wasn’t For That Trump Guy

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On his way out the door as New Jersey governor, Chris Christie says he’d be president now if it weren’t for Donald Trump.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to think to yourself, ‘Wow, if this guy were not in the race, we’d win this thing’,” Christie told Matt Arco of in an interview. “And I absolutely believe if Trump had not gotten into the race I think we would have won.”

Although many analysts gave Christie a decent shot to win the GOP nomination at the beginning of the race, his campaign never got traction. He came in 10th in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primary before dropping out and endorsing Trump.

He was hampered by a scandal stemming from politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 that led to massive traffic jams, a public safety hazard, and convictions of two of his aides.

Christie was a short-list finalist to be Trump’s running mate, before Trump picked now-Vice President Mike Pence.

After Trump’s victory in November 2016, Christie appeared set up for a major job in the administration. Christie served as chairman of Trump’s transition team before getting maneuvered out, and later didn’t get an appointment as Attorney General that he reportedly wanted, instead turning down lesser Cabinet positions and opting to remain as governor of New Jersey, where he term limits prevented him from trying for a third term.

Ever blunt, ever brash, Christie during the exit interview took shots at the Trump advisers he believes forced him out as chairman of Trump’s transition a little more than a year ago, in effect sidelining him from national influence.

“I can only tell you who ultimately executed on it and that was [Steve] Bannon, [Reince] Priebus, and [Jared] Kushner,” he told “They were the three guys in charge and they were the ones who ultimately made that recommendation to the president. And I think they ill-served him by doing it.”

In Republican presidential debates in 2015 and 2016 Christie was one of the most entertaining candidates because of his unmeasured outspokenness and rapid-fire take-downs, most memorably before the New Hampshire primary when he accused Marco Rubio of delivering memorized little speeches and then followed up on it when Rubio started repeating a memorized little speech.

He offered a takedown of reporters during his final interview in the governor’s mansion in Trenton when asked about some of his controversial actions, such as hobnobbing with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Jones’s jet, hanging out on a state beach during a state government shutdown of state beaches, spending most of a year outside New Jersey while campaigning for president, and endorsing Trump early in the primaries when establishment Republicans were still hoping to take out Trump. Christie called such matters “non-substantive reasons” for not liking him.

“That’s why those things don’t bother me in the end,” Christie told “They’re much more of an obsession of folks in the media and the know-nothing academics that you guys call all the time on speed dial, who literally have never done anything in politics. But you guys somehow give them credibility … as if they’ve actually done anything or know anything about what it’s like to sit in this chair — they’re voyeurs. As are you.”

Christie leaves office Tuesday, January 16 after eight years as governor. He appears through in New Jersey politics – his favorability rating was in the teens in New Jersey as of last summer. He also said last year he has no plans to run for elective office again, including president in 2024, when the job will presumably be available. (Assuming President Trump runs for re-election in 2020 and doesn’t draw a primary challenge.)

But as a lawyer, a former U.S. Attorney, and a gifted talker, Christie, 55, appears to have options. A tryout as a sports talk radio host in New York City didn’t work out, but there have been reports that CNN and MSNBC have expressed interest in hiring him as a political commentator.

He wouldn’t tell what he plans to do.