Instead of offering encouragement, however, Donald Trump mainly seemed interested in optics, according to Mr Christie’s new book.
“Are you gonna say you got it from me?” he quotes the president as saying.
The story comes from Mr Christie’s new book Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden, which comes out on Wednesday. They are the latest dramatic development in the on-again, off-again alliance between the two men. The Independent has reached out to Mr Trump for comment.
The New Jersey leader has been positioning himself in recent weeks as a prominent post-Trump voice in the party, if such a thing is possible. He has said the former president is trying to “instill fear” in fellow Republicans about admitting the truth of the 2020 election.
Mr Christie has spent recent weeks urging the GOP to move on from its obsession with the 2020 election and the baseless claim that election fraud stole a rightful Trump victory.
“If [Trump] wants to be a positive force in the future, he’s got to let this other stuff go. If he doesn’t, I don’t think he can be,” Mr Christie told The New York Times on Saturday.
Speaking of force, the New Jersey Republican accused the former president of maintaining his grip on the party through fear, threatening any GOP-er who dares question Mr Trump’s repeated election conspiracies.
“Donald Trump’s own conduct is meant to instill fear,” Mr Christie added.
Mr Christie also blamed Mr Trump’s election misinformation for the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, telling the Times, “As a leader, you need to know that there are consequences to the words you use. And that those consequences at times can be stuff that you may not even be able to anticipate.”
Chris Christie and Donald Trump have a somewhat tortured relationship, often becoming allies around election seasons before the two brash East Coast-ers find themselves butting heads. Mr Christie served as the head of the Trump transition team, then was fired, then led the Trump administration opioid epidemic committee, and has since pivoted to attacking Trump’s election lies.
At a recent gathering for Jewish Republicans in Las Vegas, Christie hammered Trump for keeping the party fixated on “grievances of the past.”
Mr Trump, never one to suffer even the smallest slight in public, quickly lashed out in response, claiming that Christie “was just absolutely massacred by his statements that Republicans have to move on from the past, meaning the 2020 Election Fraud. Everybody remembers that Chris left New Jersey with a less than 9% approval rating — a record low, and they didn’t want to hear this from him!”
(Though it’s unclear where Mr Trump got the 9 per cent figure, Chris Christie indeed was the least popular New Jersey governor in history.)
Not to be outdone, Mr Christie responded to Mr Trump in a recent interview with Axios, retorting that at least he had won re-election.
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