INTERVIEW – CHRIS CHRISTIE — Former governor of New Jersey and author of BOOK: “LET ME FINISH: TRUMP, THE KUSHNERS, BANNON, NEW JERSEY, AND THE POWER OF IN-YOUR-FACE POLITICS”
- ABOUT THE BOOK: From the outspoken former governor, a no-holds-barred account of Chris Christie’s rise to power through the bare-knuckle politics of New Jersey and his frank, startling insights about Donald Trump from inside the president’s inner circle. After dropping out of the 2016 presidential race, Chris Christie stunned the political world by becoming the first major official to endorse Donald Trump. A friend of Trump’s for fifteen years, the two-term New Jersey governor understood the future president as well as anyone in the political arena–and Christie quickly became one of Trump’s most trusted advisers. Tapped with running Trump’s transition team, Christie was nearly named his running mate. But within days of Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton, Christie was in for his own surprise: he was being booted out. In Let Me Finish, Christie sets the record straight about his tenure as a corruption-fighting prosecutor and a Republican running a Democratic state, as well as what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail and inside Trump Tower. Christie takes readers inside the ego-driven battles for Trump’s attention among figures like Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowksi, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, and Paul Manafort. He shows how the literal trashing of Christie’s transition plan put the new administration in the hands of self-serving amateurs, all but guaranteeing the Trump presidency’s shaky start. Christie also addresses hot-button issues from his own years in power, including what really went down during Bridgegate. And, for the first time, Christie tells the full story of the Kushner saga: how, as a federal prosecutor, Christie put Jared Kushner’s powerful father behind bars–a fact Trump’s son-in-law makes Christie pay for later. Packed with news-making revelations and told with the kind of bluntness few politicians can match, Christie’s memoir is an essential guide to understanding the Trump presidency.
- Let Me Finish will reveal:
- Candid and surprising insights into the public and private Donald Trump, drawn from 15 years of close friendship—Trump as an “utterly fearless” man with “unparalleled self-confidence” who nonetheless has “deficits, significant gaps in his experience,” such as his reliance on his own impulses and failure to grasp “the inner-workings of government, which are different than the business world.”
- Why Christie chose to endorse Trump, shocking the political world, in the hopes of “making him a better candidate.”
- The day that Bannon fired Christie as transition chair and tried to keep him away from Donald Trump—and how Christie successfully outfoxed him.
- How the literal trashing of Christie’s Trump-transition plan put the new administration in the hands of “deeply flawed individuals—amateurs, grifters, weaklings, convicted and unconvicted felons,” causing “infighting and chaos in the White House,” for which Trump “has been paying the price for ever since.”
- Frank appraisals of the Trump “riff raff,” past and present, such as Steve Bannon (“the only person I have ever met who can look pretentious and like unmade bed at the same time”), “Russian lackey” Michael Flynn, anxious-to-please Reince Priebus (who was convinced Trump would lose the election), “not ready for primetime” Jeff – Sessions, “loser” Omarosa, “shady” Paul Manafort (who literally falls asleep in a meeting with Christie), as well as figures Christie admires such as down-to-earth – Jersey girl Kellyanne Conway, “incredibly loyal” Corey Lewandowski, the ever-watchful Trump children, and “the smart, worldly, very intuitive, and immensely likeable” Melania Trump.
- His fraught relationship with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose father Christie once sent to federal prison (for a sordid, incredible, only-in-New-Jersey set of crimes involving hiring a prostitute to blackmail his own brother-in-law, over a family business feud), and who would become “obsessed with destroying” Christie. – – The tension between Christie and Jared comes to a head in a Trump Tower confrontation between Christie and Jared in which a dozen years of family bitterness finally came gushing out—with Trump forced to referee. Eventually Jared “would exacting a plot of revenge against [Christie], a hit job that made no sense at all” in terms of helping Trump.
- Never-told stories from Christie’s years as a corruption-fighting U.S. attorney, New Jersey’s bare-knuckles politics, Superstorm Sandy, the Barack Obama “hug,” being vetted for vice president (twice), and the full, untold story of Bridgegate—including what it felt like to be “betrayed” with a “ridiculous stunt” that threatened Christie’s political career “with extinction.”