New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is dismissing Steve Bannon’s claim that he lost a spot in Donald Trump’s administration by failing to defend the future president following the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape.
“I was offered Cabinet positions by this president,” Christie told PBS’s Judy Woodruff in an interview that aired Monday. “I was offered Cabinet positions that I turned down.”
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Bannon said the “Access Hollywood” scandal last October was a “litmus test” for members of the Trump campaign. On a tape published by the Washington Post, Trump was caught bragging in 2005 about groping women.
Christie, who served as a key adviser to Trump during the campaign, told Woodruff he expressed his disappointment to the president directly.
“I didn’t need to go on the air, or to do it publicly, or to self-aggrandize myself now, as, you know, Mr. Bannon is doing by giving a ‘60 Minutes’ interview,” Christie said.
In that interview, Bannon cast Christie as disloyal.
“When you side with a man, you side with him, OK? The good and the bad,” Bannon said. “You can criticize him behind, but when you side with him, you have to side with him. And that’s what Billy Bush weekend showed me.”
“I’m Irish. I got to get my black book and I got ‘em,” Bannon continued. “Christie, because of Billy Bush weekend, was not looked at for a Cabinet position.”
On PBS, Christie fired back.
“I suspect that this ‘little black book’ that Mr. Bannon is talking about, the only one who ever read that black book was Mr. Bannon himself,” Christie said. “I know that no one else cares about it, and now that he’s been fired, no one’s going to really care about anything else Steve Bannon has to say.”
Bannon, who also served as chief executive of the Trump campaign, left his post as White House chief strategist last month in order return to his position as the head of the far-right Breitbart News. Bannon maintains he resigned, despite reports that newly installed White House chief of staff John Kelly forced him to do so.
On “60 Minutes,” Bannon said that Trump convened an emergency meeting the day after the tape’s release.
“Trump went around the room and asked people the percentages he thought of still winning and what the recommendation [was],” he said. “I was the last guy to speak, and I said, ‘It’s 100 percent. You have 100 percent probability of winning.‘”
After the meeting, which was held a day before the second presidential debate, Bannon said he gave Christie an ultimatum.
“I told him, ‘The plane leaves at 11:00 in the morning. If you’re on the plane, you’re on the team,‘” Bannon said. “Didn’t make the plane.”
Christie said the conversation “never happened.”
“This, I suspect, is his last 15 minutes of fame, and that’s fine. I hope he enjoys it,” Christie added. “I have very broad shoulders, and I’ve had much tougher characters than Steve Bannon lie about me in the past.”
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