If you thought former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was going to fuck off into the sunset after he and his 14 percent approval rating left office earlier this year, guess again: Christie has a new job as an on-air contributor for ABC News, and on Sunday, he did some commentating.
One subject of Christie’s ire was EPA head Scott Pruitt, who is currently under fire for living in a D.C. townhouse owned by an energy lobbyist (as did his daughter, a former White House intern) at a hefty discount.
“Listen, I don’t know how you survive this one,” Christie said on This Week. “And if [Pruitt] has to go — if he has to go, it’s because he never should have been there in the first place.”
Pruitt “never should have been there in the first place,” Christie explained, because the transition team—which he chaired until he was demoted three days after the election in favor of Mike Pence—didn’t vet people hard enough. “This was a brutally unprofessional transition, this was a transition that didn’t vet people for this type of judgement issues, which I think could have been seen very easily in a lot of these people,” he said. “You cannot do this with, you know — Rick Dearborne and Steve Bannon on the back of an envelope in 73 days,” he added.
That may very well be true. But Christie, you’ll remember, had top members of his administration convicted of conspiracy and fraud (and another, who pled guilty and received no jail time in exchange for testimony against the other two) for orchestrating lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as payback against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie’s re-election run in 2013. I wonder how he would score on “judgement issues.”
Later in the segment, Christie said that President Donald Trump “should never walk into that room with [special counsel] Robert Mueller,” which Trump reportedly really wants to do.
“One of the things that makes the president who he is, is that he’s a salesman, and salesmen, at times, tend to be hyperbolic,” Christie told host George Stephanopoulos. “That’s OK when you’re on the campaign hustle, that’s OK when you’re working on Congress, it is not OK when you’re sitting talking to federal agents, because 18 U.S. Code 1001 is false statements to federal agents, that’s a crime, that can send you to jail.”
But Christie also praised Trump’s recent terrible personnel changes, while indicating, again, that if only Trump had listened to another member of the transition team—perhaps one whose name rhymes with Kris Khristie—maybe his cabinet wouldn’t be so hopelessly corrupt.
“He was ill-served right from the beginning by a group of people who threw all of the transition work out, 35 eight-inch binders of vetting of over 350 people that were consistent with his views,” Christie told Stephanopoulos, “that they got rid of—literally threw in the garbage, George—three days after the election, and started over.” Nope, definitely not still mad.