Chris Christie predicts 'huge personnel problem' if Trump is reelected to 'vendetta presidency'
In an exclusive interview, the former governor warned of "absolute mayhem."
Former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, in an exclusive new interview with ABC News about a month after he suspended his 2024 campaign, warned that if Donald Trump is reelected, his White House will face a "huge personnel problem" during a "vendetta presidency."
"Let's say that Donald Trump does win in November. What does a second term look like?" ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Christie, in the former New Jersey governor's first interview since suspending his presidential campaign, clips of which will air Tuesday on "Good Morning America," "GMA3" and "ABC News Live Prime."
"Mayhem. Absolute mayhem," Christie replied. "First off, people forget that in the first term, he got a lot of good people to work for him in that administration."
Christie ticked through names of former Trump Cabinet members who, he said, brought strong experience but were fired or quit because of Trump, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, former Attorney General Bill Barr and retired Gen. John Kelly, a former White House chief of staff.
"Whether you agree with their policies, these are really solid, experienced people in government," said Christie, whose third book, "What Would Reagan Do?: Life Lessons from the Last Great President," is out Tuesday.
"I cannot imagine the crew that he'll put together [in a second term]," Christie continued. "And he will do it with an eye much different than in '16. In '16, he was scared. He didn't expect to win, and he was intimidated by the presidency when he first got there. He will not be this time."
Christie, after also running for president in 2016, led Trump's transition team but has since called his decision to support Trump a "mistake," citing efforts to deny the validity of the 2020 election.
The former governor is now a vocal Trump critic, drawing fire from Trump as well, who has called him a "failed" leader and candidate. Trump has likewise attacked the track records of many of his former Cabinet members and senior aides after they left.
Christie told Stephanopoulos that he thinks Trump will not seek out capable people if he wins another four years in office.
"What he wants ... are people who will just nod their heads, say yes and execute whatever his next rant will be. And so, one, it'll be a huge personnel problem of people who have no business being in senior positions in the federal government," Christie said. "And then secondly, I think we have to take him at his word. This is gonna be the vendetta presidency. This is gonna be, 'I am your retribution.' And I think he will use the levers of government to punish the people who he believes have been disloyal to him or to his approach."
Trump has often talked about targeting his political enemies in campaign speeches, promising to "root out" opponents who "live like vermin."
More recently, however, he has said, "We're going to make the country so successful again, I'm not going to have time for retribution. And remember this: Our ultimate retribution is success."
Top officials from the Trump campaign, meanwhile, dismissed reports last December about possible appointments in a second Trump presidency, calling them "unwanted distractions."
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