Another Late Show with Stephen Colbert, another author of a Trumpland tell-all.
One night after Cliff Sims broke down the revelations from his book Team of Vipers, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sat down with Stephen Colbert to promote his entry in the increasingly lucrative genre, Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics.
“I’m not sure I will let him finish, but it will be a lot of fun,” Colbert said during an earlier segment on Tuesday night’s show. “The guy knows how to talk. I’m not sure about the governing part, but he definitely knows how to talk.”
Like Sims, Christie remains generally supportive of Trump, but at the same time doesn’t mind cashing in on his one-time proximity to the president. His true feelings started to flow after Colbert poured him some of “that liberal George Clooney tequila.”
Christie was booked to be on The Late Show’s live episode following the State of the Union but amidst the government shutdown fight, Nancy Pelosi forced the president to push his speech back a week.
“The president blew it,” Christie said of the shutdown negotiations, “when he shut the government down with no plan on how to reopen it.” After Colbert said it was “entirely” Trump’s fault, his guest nodded, “Listen, if you’re going to do this, you better have an exit plan, because sometimes in politics things don’t go the way you expect,” he said. “And so if it doesn’t go well in the first couple of days, you’ve gotta have a way to get it back open.” Christie admitted that Trump got “rolled” by Pelosi in the end.
Later, Colbert asked if, two years into the Trump presidency, Christie still feels like, “Yeah, that’s the right guy for this job at this time.” Christie poured himself some more tequila as the host continued to ask whether he “regrets” helping Trump get elected—not to mention leading his White House transition team.
“I made a decision at the time that I thought he was going to win the nomination after I dropped out, and that I preferred him to Hillary Clinton,” Christie said. “It wasn’t a whole lot more complicated than that. And I still agree with what his policies are, more than I agree with Hillary Clinton’s. So we’re going to see what he does the next two years.”
Christie said he still likes “much of what” Trump has done when it comes to policy, but at the same time admitted that “he has turned the Republican Party into something different than it was when I started to run for president, no question.”
“Yeah, the Kremlin,” Colbert shot back.
After a break, the host asked Christie what he has gotten out of his apparently close relationship with Trump. “How do you still be friends with someone who shows no personal loyalty to you?” he asked, as Christie himself acknowledged he was “fired” from the transition team and not given a role in Trump’s White House.
“I understand what politics is,” Christie said. “And I understand there are times when things happen in politics where you have to be a big boy, pull your pants up and walk away. And that’s what I did.”
“Because you just got spanked?” Colbert asked.
Christie understandably bristled at that characterization, saying, “No spanking. I got kicked in the rear end out. And it’s never a pleasant feeling to have that done to yourself. And I wasn’t happy about it.” But, he added, “the country is more important than any of this” so if he “can do anything to make him better, if I can do anything to help the country, that’s my job to do.”
He did not hesitate, however, when Colbert asked if he would have been a “better president” than Trump. “Yes,” Christie said. When the host pointed out that he left his governorship with a 15 percent approval rating, his response was, “Who cares?”
Finally, Colbert asked if Christie might run for office again some day. The former governor replied with a quick, “Hell no,” before adding, “Listen, you just told me I’m the most unpopular person in the world. Why would I run for office?”