tv After Words Chris Christie Let Me Finish CSPAN February 18, 2019 11:34am-12:36pm EST
>> thank you. [inaudible conversation] >> c-span, where history unfolds dealing in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television company. today, we bring you on filter coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court in public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> next on book tvs afterwards, former new jersey governor and presidential candidate, chris christie discusses his political career in office insight into the trump administration. he's interviewed by major
garrett. afterwards is a weekly interview program with relevant castles interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> governor christie, welcome. >> thank you. >> what did you read the book? >> guest: you know, major, i have wanted to write a book for some time really starting after hurricane sandy. i thought there were a lot of stories to tell about my governorship and my getting to the governorship. then, once iran for president i knew there were stories to tell. to me, going into the last true years of the trump administration and my involvement i think there are some things people needed to know. i wanted to tell them what happened to me in my life. being able to tell the truth about all the things that have gone on has pulled the curtain back little bit for folks to let them see what it's like to be
involved in the presidential campaign is one of the more visible governors in america might be something people would like to read. >> host: you just said a moment ago, the last two years of the trump presidency. are you expecting only one term? >> guest: zero no, i mean, in the last two years. i have no prediction on a second term. >> host: do you think he's likely to win the republican nomination? >> yes. >> host: why? >> guest: because i think he's still extraordinarily popular with republicans, primary voters. having seen him in action as one of the opponents in 2016, he is made a special connection with a large swath of the republican party during the primary, and just increase that during his time as president. >> host: what about the interaction with him as challenger to donald trump in 20162015 has surprised you? you knew him for quite a few
years before that. >> i have to tell you, major, to be honest, i never thought he was going to stay in the race. as you know, donald have flirted with running for president a number of times before. i thought he would do it for a little while, get bored and move on to something else. the first thing that surprised me as he's sticking to it that he wanted to pursue the nomination and wanted to be in the race and stayed in the race. i thought as he went down the escalator in june that we would see him for a couple months, couple debates and then he would leave. the second thing was the way he dominated the entire race from a media perspective. the media was completely infatuated with donald trump. the level of coverage she got compared to the rest of us was staggering. part of that was him and his personality, part of it was the media's fascination with him. that made it difficult for me or
other candidate to get any media oxygen. whatever we got was parceled out to us by you folks in a very small way. that surprised me. the third thing was how much he connected to regular folks in the country. after all, he is a billionaire from manhattan. i did not think you would connect with regular folks. as i went door to door, my wife went door to door, it became clear that he was connecting with regular people across the country. >> let's touch on the media for second, was there something reckless about that fascination that you just mentioned? >> i believe so. i've told media folks who have complained to me afterwards about the president. i said, you guys help create him. i never saw before. i never in my life, before, saw
a presidential candidate allowed to phone in to a sunday morning talk show. i've never seen it. i don't know that we'll ever see it again. but, the networks were so hungry for any donald trump contents that, if i wanted to go on meet the press it was hard to get a remote. if i didn't get a remote, i didn't get on the train and went to the studios to seek chuck todd. donna can sit in his pajamas in his apartment and be able to speak to the media. so, i think there is a lack of recognition. i think the networks were making enormous amounts of money off of him. i think the networks made a financial decision that winds up impacting an electoral decision. >> host: based on your knowledge of relationship with donald trump, and as you read in the
book, it long predated the political cycle. do you think he understood that far better than the media? did he anticipate that a no that would be an advantage going in? no that he would be able to wield that in ways that other challengers would not? >> undoubtedly. no question. he knew that was his key advantage. haven't been this starved the apprentice's for all those years. being in the tabloids, he use that. he pushed the envelope with the median ways that nobody else ever has. the media not only expected it, even more, it was on jet fuel. they gave him more more. i felt this story all the time. i did to town hall meetings one day in iowa and then drove another two hours back to my hotel in des moines. i got up to my room, no room
service, had not eaten dinner, ordered a domino's pizza. i turned on cnn and they were broadcasting live for one full hour, a speech by donald trump. i thought to myself, i got to about 600 people today in my town hall meeting. he's getting to hundreds of thousands tonight, free of charge, courtesy of cnn. so, it had a real impact on the race. >> host: you read in the book at one point, after endorsing candidate trump, you in a couple of advisors on the trump place an advisor looks around and says we lost to this. meaning, there was trump in the steamy tiny group of maybe idealistic certainly energetic assistance and that's it. in what way did donald trump
rewrite the book for campaign for the highest office in our land? >> guest: how is my own law partner was no republican national committee man. he said to me, we lost to this. was cory lewandowski, whole pics, danskin vino doing social media, keith schiller, the president's bodyguard, and that was it. so, it was shocking. then, secondly, how else did he rewrite it, he rewrote it by using twitter in a way that no one else had ever done. i was familiar with that kind of approach because i have used youtube in a way that no other governor had ever used youtube. and really made myself more of a national figure. donald trump took twitter to a new level he was able when he wanted to to go over the heads of the media and communicate to millions of people.
>> and go over your head as well is a candidate. >> absolutely. >> host: you said it was my experience, watching the campaign i started watching on day to day basis, donald trump could do to foreigners, retweet, and by 9:00 a.m. eastern, whatever you are planning is chris christie, john kasich -- your days blown out. >> guest: in your being forced to whatever media is forcing you to respond to donald trump. i think the media was unwittingly complacent and all that. he rewrote it through the use of twitter. he also rewrote it in some ways through his use of language. listen, i am no wallflower. i'm the guy who says get the hell off the beach. i'm not somebody who is reluctant to get tough and edgy.
but he took it to a new level. >> host: i wonder if at times he thought to yourself, wait a minute. this is my routine. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: wise you doing my routine better than i am. >> guest: i don't know if he's even doing it better. he is doing it differently. my wife is going t door to door new hampshire. she went up to one door knocked on and introduced herself as my wife and the women subjects are, so great to meet you. with love your husband. he's so bright and articulate, direct and blunt. we love him. were voting for trump but we love your husband. he's a great guy. she said if you love him why are you voting for trump? and she said because he's not a politician. >> it was anecdotes like that we knew we were in real trouble if he stayed in the race.
he defined the race in a much different way. he is allowed to do that. in fact, aided and abetted in doing that. it became a very different race than anybody could have anticipated. >> one last thing about the race. it's always been my thought, governor christie, that one of the great advantages donald trump brought to the race was a sense that by the time either his opponents, lawrence e, the media, the clinton campaign, the democratic national committee realized how serious he was, it would be too late. >> host: meaning that idea that you had initially that you thought it was a large, two or three month thing and he really wasn't going to be persistent. maybe he always was and he figure by the time you understood that he would have the upper hand.
>> guest: it very well could be. i don't know if it was that strategic a move on his part. but, think it was unavoidable for many of us to think it was a lark given how many times he faked himself into a presidential race. i think it was a logical conclusion to reach that he wouldn't stay. just because it's logical does not mean it was right. we were all wrong about that. >> how much of this book did you write yourself? >> guest: i did not write any of the first draft through. what we did was, i sat with my co-author. he would ask me and interview me and ask me questions. i would tell him stories and will go through certain phases of my life. we would transcribe the in both work from the transcript to craft together a chapter. so, it was really the first draft of all this was that
transcript of the conversation. once we agreed on a chapter how long did that process take you from beginning to end? >> we began to write together in april and we ended at the end of september. >> was at harder than you thought or better-than-expected? >> harder than i thought the hardest part was picking which ones to tell i didn't understand how much work it would be i enjoyed it. it was harder than i thought it
would be were any parts difficult? the book has a couple of things where you fault yourself, but not many. it's generally speaking a favorable impression of you in your career. your fully entitled to that. did you struggle with how to either criticize yourself or stories that you thought might be too critical of yourself that you decided not to include? >> more of the former than the latter. kind of struggle with exactly what to share and how to share it in an appropriate way. i think when people read the book they're going to see a very open about talking about my marriage and have a been married at very young, i was married at 23 and my wife was 22. we had difficulties which led to separating a couple of times. deciding whether not to put that in the book is difficult.
your opening up a personal side of your life. in the end, i decided it was an integral part of the story. battling and fighting to save my marriage, as both mary pat and i did and decided to, was a conscious decision. i think that tells you a lot about who we are as people. knocked down, we are going to get out. put a challenge in front of us, were going to fight. i thought it was a consistent stream through my entire career. an important part for people to get real view to understand that we been married 32 years, we have four children. it was really predestined. we had to work hard at it. deciding to include that in to include in their the loss of one of our children through miscarriage, those things were difficult personal things to decide if we wanted to share. we both felt it was an important thing to share.
>> host: the part about your early struggles as a married couple, it's very compelling. for the audiences benefit all tell them what i read. wasn't about infidelity or substance abuse, is about immaturity if i read the book correctly. talk to the audience about the immaturity factor of two people who do love each other, but maybe too young to be married. >> guest: yes. it really was that. one of the stories we told the book that i have gotten reaction to come is us never living together before we got married. we come back from our honeymoon in late march of 1986. opening day is the beginning of april, opening day of baseball season. i'm a big new york mets fan. 1986 was the last great year for the new york mets. so, i wanted to watch opening night where the mets were playing the pirates. i grab some food for dinner, and
i went to sit in front of the television to watch the game. mary pat says to me, where you going? and she said i'm going to watch the game and i said we don't need front of the television. she said no, we do not eat in front of the television. i said will the hell with that from human front of the television. and then we had a big fight. these are two people, to a type personalities, my wife were turned entire career on wall street, a woman in a man's profession, especially in the mid- 1980s when she started in that profession. she's very tight big, very tough personality, as am i. we had to grow up and learn to compromise and understand what effort marriage really took. you read it right. it was immaturity that was driving us apart and we had to make the conscious decision to put the work in to grow up
together and to preserve the love that we have for each other. the one mature thing we did do was not have children. we were married for seven years before our first child was born. that was a conscious decision on our part we were in a relationship that we did not think was quite settled enough to handle raising a child. >> you separated twice. his idea was that? how hard was that? there are people who may watch the interview and say if you separate, you're finished, but you will were not finished. >> guest: no. the first separation was my idea. i left the house we are sharing. then, i move back in on the second separation was her idea. and she left. and left me in the house. so, i don't think it was a tit-for-tat situation, but i think we just weren't ready. we are going through some intensive marriage counseling that was very intense.
was very difficult for both of us. then, after that come about five months if i recall of that second separation, mary pat decided she wanted to move back in. i said i wanted her to move back in. that was in around 1989 or 1990. we have been together ever since. >> quite obviously, you know this somewhat well. the subtitle of the book is, the grabber. trump, kushner, there's new jersey but you know kushner's, banning, trump that's going to get the attention of book buyers and those who write about books. you cover this white house. what is your beef with your kushner? >> guest: well, major, i never really had a beef with jared kushner. i never met jared until the presidential campaign. but, there's a history between
me and the christian family as we detail in the book. i was the united states attorney in new jersey for several years. charles kushner, jerrod's father was one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of new jersey. during those years. i wound up prosecuting his father for tax evasion and for federal election contribution violations and for witness tampering. it became a very notorious case, one that was resolved quickly come about three weeks after the charges were brought, mr. kushner pled guilty to 18 counts. he was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison. at that time, jared kushner, i did not know him. i knew of him because i knew
that mr. kushner had children. i didn't know him, he did not know ivanka trump. that to me was the end of the connection with the family. he went to jail, that was the end of my involvement. >> then fast forward. not only is there a campaign, a nomination, victory, you been placed in charge of the transition. it's a bit intense with jared kushner, then something happens to your transition work. pick up the story from their. >> and where the beef arises. >> well, the move from there to remember something there's a section of the book you can call -- donald trump stood up and said no, chris did his job. he was doing what he needed to do. i'm going to name him transition german.
there is a bitter backdrop that leads us to two days after the election i have been running the post transition, the postelection transition meeting and amassed into a meeting of steve bannon's office. steve looks me in the eye and says, after fill you in, were making some changes. i said what are we doing? and he said, you're out. and i said excuse me? and he said yes, you're out. your people are out. i said who made this decision? he would not tell me. and i said i'm going go down and tell the press that he had made the decision and he could deal with it. he then said to me, well, it was the kid who did it. that's what he used to call gerrit. the kid did it, the kids were taken and asked your head ever since i got here. so, that., i knew all the protests for the country that cheered me to me personally that he held no grudge, there was no problem, we were going to work
well together and i worked with him all throughout the transition work. we met with the family every week during the preparation of the transition. never had anything but the slightest indication that there is any problem at all. not only was i fired, all the work we did was thrown away. i don't think this administration has ever really recovered from that. >> so, this sounds maybe to some like a personal story. it has a personal dimension to it as i read the book much of what you say about the transition compares to the reporting i did about what happened. i was in in that meeting, you have the direct quote, i don't, but they are on track with what happened and why. both of us come away with an impression that the president wasn't dialed in on the consequences of this decision.
from your vantage., what did the president elect to lose with all of the transition work you did? not only a policy but more portly, personnel? >> he lost a bunch of things. so did the country. we had extraordinary people pre-vetted and lined up for every cabinet position in every senior staff position in the white house. they had already been vetted. they are ready for their president's consideration. we had executive orders prepared by former justice department and white house counsel office lawyers that would pass legal muster in our view. a number of different things the president wanted to do, including restrictions he wanted to place on immigration from countries that were exporting terrorism. we had white papers on every different issue he spoke about during the campaign with a plan to allow him to implement those ideas. we had a plan for every week of the transition having a
different theme with cabinet offers consistent being announced during that week. and a one-day plan, day one for the presidency, a 100 day plan and the 200 day plan. all of those things were in about 30 binders that were prepared for the transition team and by the transition team. they were all tossed away. what the president lost was an opportunity to get better personnel than he is gone since use purs president, and a betten to accomplish more than he has already accomplish. >> the president, sounds to me, governor christie, had a blind spot about the process in general. he thought it was bad karma you would quote him anytime saying it's bad karma i don't want to think about it. i don't want to raise money for it even though it's an essential part of the next step. he did not appreciate in value this work enough.
if he had, it would not have been thrown in the garbage. >> lucy, you have to take some measure of accountability. he allowed it to happen and it does go back to the idea that he was never comfortable of the transitions going on despite the fact that is required by federal law to begin in the spring of 2016. he was never comfortable with what he considered to be the bad karma that come from planning for presidency before you had won the presidency. he also thought that if he got involved at all he would be distracted by it and he claimed that mitt romney was distracted by prepare for transition and that hurt his ability to beat barack obama. ...
>> host: what would you say is this president's relationship to the truth? >> guest: i said many times the president at his core is a salesman. he is trying to make the sale of whatever he selling every time he speaks, and he speaks in really, really enhanced hyperbole. sometimes that's hyperbole is stretching the truth a bit and sometimes it breaks the truth. he always sees what he's doing as consistent with his job to sell a particular point of view for what he considers to be the greater good of the american people and of the country. if you need to do that to get it
done he will do it to get done. that's the best way to understand it. >> host: the reason i ask is because there's a section in the book we talk about what from your experience because you knew the truth and you talk about in the book, the president as a candidate lied about you about bridgegate, hurricane sandy and president obama. for political effects. i wonder as you wrote that and as you look back at it now is that just politics as normal or is that something offensive? >> guest: i think it was both. i think it was offensive politics as normal, if i could combine the two. i'll tell you the rest of the story in my mind, it's just as interesting about donald trump is a fact that he would do it. the motivating factor for this blowup by him towards me was the fact that i just received the manchester union leaders endorsement, the only newspaper, major newspaper daily in new hampshire, with a pretty storied
history of endorsing primary candidates. they endorsed me for president. trump was really upset about that. he thought he deserved the endorsement, one of the endorsement and was very disappointed and that was a kicking off point for his remark. we have to understand first that he was agitated within what happened afterwards was more interest because he lost his attack against me from south carolina -- launched -- and amid the event. i i've been counterattacked against him over the wall, mexico, et cetera on that evening from iowa. and the next day we are driving to next stop in iowa and my campaign manager got a phone call from corey lewandowski saying his boss is really sort about what happened yesterday, doesn't want to happen again. he would like to have truce. he relates this to me, writing,
piece of piece of paper while he's talking and i say, no truce unless i get a direct call from him. he conveys that and lo and behold two hours later i get a phone call from donald trump where he basically says listen, i know, i know you didn't know about any of this stuff. i was angry and i wanted to lash out at you and it did. he said i was wrong and i will never do it again. let's not be attacking each other. and i said okay, that's fine. we shook hands, walked away and you never once again attacked me again in the campaign. >> host: if not for bridgegate do you think you would have been the vice presidential running mate with donald trump or his attorney general? >> guest: if not for bridgegate i think i might've been the nominee for president. i think a number of these
people, that bridgegate introduced me in the race. i don't know that trump would have run but for bridgegate. i don't know if jeb bush would have run but for bridgegate. remember, major, by the 2015 reelection i've gotten 51% of the vote in a a blue state. 51% of the hispanic vote. 20% of the african-american vote. i had won the female vote against a female candidate and i had 155% of the independent vote here so i was modeled to be the new kind of person in the republican party to get those kind of constituencies to vote for me. then bridgegate happen in the beginning of genoa 2014. i think a change everything and i'm not sure a lot of people would have run it had been in the same content the same position i was in 2013. but i was not and i think that, certainly bridgegate was used as
a cudgel by people who opposed me, opposed in the vice presidential search and in the ag search. >> host: how much of that is your fault? >> guest: well, i'm accountable but i'm not responsible. in the end i had two of the three people who were involved in the matter and i have to be responsible for hiring people who in the end were not trustworthy. they lied to me and lied to my senior staff. i'm clearly responsible for that. it always comes back when your governor, or president. always comes back to being you have to be accountable. then the question is, are you responsible for what happened having participated in the act yourself? i never did. never had any interest in that. by the way, it was stupid. we were up by 30 points. why in god's name would you want
to punish a small-town mayor who didn't endorse you as a democrat? it made no sense to me. what does make sense is that it was my fault in hiring those two people and ultimately those are the people who along with the masterminds of the plot who pled guilty. these two folks were convicted and they are now getting ready to go to jail. >> host: online in the book is your high level of energy, your ambition, your sense of learning how to deal with the feet and said setback for them. you talk about what it meant to be benched for a year on your baseball team. a through line is this tremendous drive. i wonder just taking our last five minutes of this conversation, governor, how much of you either on a daily basis or once a week or once a month
either sees or has this sense of bitterness about this one thing, if we are to believe you, is what state between being the nominee of the major party that you've always been in, republican party, and possibly president of the united states? >> guest: it's not bitterness, major. in the beginning it was. i was angry and bitter towards those people who had done this and had used power and authority that i had earned and that i gave to them, and they miss used it in a way that was abusive and stupid. i was very angry, but as time passes just to let go of that anger. all i have now is regret that it cost me some opportunities. and what i really think i could've helped the country as president or as vice president. but in the end all you can have
is some regret because when you read the book and look at the life i have had, i can hardly complain about the extraordinary life that are already been able to experience. i try to keep it all in perspective, major. early on there were days where i couldn't keep it in perspective and i did spend a lot of nights awake staring up at the ceiling. but now i have just done with a much better and understand, this is part of my life story. by the way this is something i intend to come back from as well, and that's why the title "let me finish" is what it is. >> host: so what happened and who is stopping you? >> guest: i don't think anything is stopping me. what i haven't finished is i don't think i've yet finished my contributions to our country. i do think that are going to be opportunities or times me whether through governmental service or some other way, continue be an active and
important voice in the deliberations of our nation's future. i want to continue to do that. something i think, take a good at and i really love and enjoy. it's one of the passions of my life. >> host: let's clear something up. a lot of times these books are platforms for something. you're not going to run against trump for the nomination, are you? >> guest: no. no. this is not that at all. this is my first opportunity to write a book. who knows? major, who could ever think that far in advance? you think that far in advance in politics, you need to have some deep psychiatric treatment. what i mean by "let me finish" is that i don't get something to contribute and things i want to do. i don't know how it will manifest itself, but what i know is it was cut just a little short and i'm not quite done yet.
>> host: would you like to serve in this administration? >> guest: i've had lots of opportunities to serve and the captain and then white house, and i have turned those down because nothing that was offered to me excited me enough and i thought dealt most directly with my most capable attribute. willing to move from new jersey -- >> host: what would excite you? >> guest: i told the the presit at the beginning when i endorsed him, you know, if you read the book in february he asked me if i i went what you what to do? there are only two jumps of the interest of income and equity vice president or attorney general. i was a u.s. attorney for seven years. i loved the department of justice and the something i was interested in doing. the president decided to go in a different direction. >> host: are you comfortable with the way this president talks about the justice department? >> guest: not always, no. and i have told and at times
where i thought that his comments come his cometary were out of bounds and not constructive in helping make the justice department the most effective tool we have in ensuring justice is done in this country. so no. and one of those objections i speak directly to the present about them. fms publicly express my concern about the in the exact same way i have just done to you. >> host: i know with an understanding and appreciate and acknowledge the line the people draw in the exact conversations with the president, but in general howe does he respond? does he respond at least in way that you think he's taking those observations you've given on board? >> guest: depends on the day, major. some days when a tone that i can tell he's listening and he takes it in and his processing it. others days he is really angry about special counsel investigation or some conduct of the fbi. on those days where he is angry
about him more just wants to vent to a friend. that's what i permit him to do. on those days when in on the ways he is wrong are probably not the most productive moments of time you can spin and day. i wait for him to call off and talk to him but later. >> host: how much is anger a part of his personality? >> guest: i think it's an element of this personally but i think to make in a major element of his personality is to make him too much of a car t character. i don't think that's who he is. i think and is part of it, but so is determination, so is an ability to cart meant allies things at times. so is an absolutely unbridled ambition to be the very best he can be. there's elements of right and book that that he is an
extraordinarily loving and caring father. you read in the book about some of the conversations we've had about fatherhood together. i think it gives people another window into donald trump who he is and what parts of his personality he's displaying rather openly now, later on in life. >> host: taking that statement you just made about family, you think they could ever realistically be assumed as a goodwill for you in this administration so long as jared kushner is a senior advisor inside the west wing? >> guest: sure, i do. and i --, so the grudge is not so big that it would be of veto exercise of jerred over you, even though it was once before? >> guest: the country, i believe the country is bigger than any of that. and i believe both the president and jared, the more they're participating in the jobs they have, understand that, more and
more acutely. >> host: what about steve bannon? you are not a big fan of his in this book. you described him as a liar and a fraud. why? >> guest: because he's a liar and a fraud. and the fact is that anybody was told his crew knows that he is. steve just his duplicitous and it tells you one thing and then you do something the exact opposite. >> host: outside of the boundaries of normal politics? >> guest: oh, yeah. >> host: can you explain? >> guest: i think well, i explained a number of instances in the book where it's part of these transitions can be found in this piece supporting me for attorney general. i said do think i was born yesterday quick he says why do think -- how does that work? and also what i know that he's a long time friend and confidant of senator sessions who also wants to be attorney general.
it's that kind of duplicity wastage or so, don't waste your time. why are you acting that way? i think there's more and more explanations what goes into the white house as his hands on at least some of the leaders of power and influence, at a don't think he comes out of it very well. >> host: you said something earlier in the interview i want to double back on, part of the transition plan. you had if i heard you correctly, and the transition team had prepared a locked down legally defensible travel ban, is that correct? >> guest: we believe -- listen, you never know interview go before a court but we believe that we had things prepared that were legally defensible, yes. >> host: when you saw the one that was first propounded, what ran through your mind knowing which you knew about preparations? >> guest: i called the president. i said we need to reconsider this. we can help you with it, don't go forward with this.
>> host: drama this is before it came out? >> guest: no. it was right after it came out. i said so don't go forward with it. with droid. let's do a new one. before you get too far down the road here. >> host: he obvious he didn't agree tragic he told me he was assured by others that it was legally defensible. i told him i thought they were wrong. it turned out that they were wrong. >> host: you write in the book that the present at times may be perpetually has been shrouded in his political career by riffraff. riffraff. why is that? if the president has as keen insight as many things as you and others and anyone who was observed donald trump, he's not a dummy. there's a you can assert he is not a smart person at many different levels. yet as you write in the book, others have observed it, hangers on who are unqualified, who don't have his best interest at
heart necessarily, find themselves close to them, turn on him and make things less productive than they otherwise would be. why does i continue to happen? >> guest: i think there's a few reasons for it. i think the first one is, a former aide of his said something to me that i think is incredibly accurate, i don't know why it's true but i know that it is, that the president is not, is this what to the people are most loyal to him. and it's funny to me to watch it. i've been victimized by as well. it's stunning to see and i don't know why that is, and i'm not the only one who observed it. there was another former staff member who share that with me and shared observation about it. i think that he also makes certain decisions based upon
impulse. personnel decisions based upon impulse are often very, very wrong. and so i think that those are the two biggest reasons i can think for why he's made some of the poor decisions that have been made. i've also think that when you don't have great people around you, they don't bring great people to you. because didn't want to be eclipsed by some who is bigger, brighter, smarter. so they bring you manipulative people who think they can control and that will not dominate the role they are attempting to play. i think that was particularly true with steve bannon and the folks who initially ran the white house [inaudible conversations] based on your experience with and love of politics, is that what you just mentioned, disloyal to those most loyal, sustainable? >> guest: in the political world, no, it's not.
>> host: it's the only thing you have, isn't it? it's one of the most important things. >> guest: it's not the only thing here. you have your other comments, your ability to speak, your ability to persuade. you have your ability to craft ideas and proposals. there are a lot of different attributes to be a very good politician. >> host: all those things, and protected vessel, do they not, of trust at a set of loyalty with people who you believe in and believe in you? don't those things best inculcate and arise in that protected environment of trust and loyalty? >> guest: amen, i agree with you 100% on that. i think, in the present i've always spoken about, he was asked come he was a close observer of my governorship and he said to me, you never had any leaking. you would know leaking in the governorship. it was amazing how you might even during bridgegate judgment leaking.
why is that? understood because my people understood that i i would alwa, always have their backs, always have the back as long as they were honest with me. and that we were all pulling for the same direction. mr. president, if you set the type of culture you'll get the same type of results but if people think the best way to communicate with you is to the media, is through self-aggrandizing the media are diminishing others in the media, then you are never going to do away with the weakness and will frustrate you significantly. that's the we do it and that's where i did in new jersey. that's why the team i had integers as governor was such an extraordinary group of people, combination of a former assistant has fixed attorney, folks into private business and in the political will, bring together a sense of ethics, what
you discover that trust and loyalty as a protective cover over all the other talents they bring. i think that's the way government operates best. >> host: you mention a lot about your career azygos attorney. it's a big part of this book. in general, if there's a subject to the kind of investigation and those people around that subject find themselves either indicted for lying or having pled guilty to lying on things they thought they were doing all behalf of the person at the center of that investigation, in general does that tell you anything important? >> guest: it's spoken, not fire. and so i think what a careful prosecutor does is to look at those things, examined the evidence surrounding it. when possible interview the people that he need to interview come subject to fifth amendment concern, and try to get to the
bottom of that. i think the prosecutor always makes a mistake when they assume anything. i i used of young prosecutors would come to me and when i would question about certain aspects of their evidence they would say come on, loss, you know he's guilty. i look back and say that's the most destructive attitude a prosecutor can have. what i think i know is much less important than what i know i can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. >> host: you know where i'm going with this question, because it's on the minds of a lot of americans. and to think reasonably so even those who are not in a partisan way always opposed to this administration for this president. they wonder why so many people around this candidate for president have either pled guilty to lying or indicted for lying about things they did in his general orbit? is there an innocent explanatio
explanation? >> guest: i don't know if it's innocent but i think there's an explanation for that doesn't miss remain the president has committed any crimes. the explanation for that is, bad people and stupid people lie even when you don't have to. the explanation is -- >> host: the explanation is there's accumulation of bad and stupid people knew this president? >> guest: there's no question picky to look at paul manafort, rick gates, mike flynn, george papadopoulos, roger stone. you know, these are folks who are either not very bright and/or not very truthful. you know, i can't tell you how many times as a prosecutor i saw people lie when they didn't have to because either they were too stupid to understand what they were exposing themselves to, or
at their core they were just bad people who have difficulty ever telling the truth. some of those people fit either/or both of those categories. >> host: so go back to your representation about bridgegate. not responsible but accountable. the president, therefore, may not be responsible but he is accountable. >> guest: share. >> host: this does have something to do with donald trump, does it not? >> guest: it has something to do with his personal choices. it may not have anything to do with russian collusion or with any crimes committed by the president or anybody in his family. but it certainly, listen, i have no doubt in my mind that if donald trump had to do all of acute he not hire paul manafort and rick gates. i don't have any doubt in my mind if he has a chance to go into the transponder, the
delorean from back to the future and go back and have a do over on that one that he wouldn't hire them. i'm sure you love a do over on mike flynn. >> host: let's talk about mike flynn. >> guest: but unfortunate and real-life you don't get do overs. it's only in kickball on schoolyards. >> host: you can call me major. >> guest: sorry. >> host: mike flynn, you talk about them at some length in the book. i write in my book something that's been reported before, a little more detail in my rendering, that others close to the president raise cautionary flags about michael flynn but the the president of the united states in the first encounter right after the election gave the president what that when he considered to be genuine and generous advice, which is personnel as your gut tells you. you have lots of leaves, people whispering in your ear. chester instinct.
that's an important insight you and you can bring these decision because a matter of their important, trust your instinct. if i can give you one piece of advice, be careful with michael flynn. and yet the president did not heed any of that advice into an extremely. why? pgh guest: it's one of the really eternal ministries to me, major. the bottom i is that i must have had from june of 2016 of november 2016 i must've about a half a dozen conversations with donald trump where i told them in in the uncertainties that i thought michael flynn should have no position of significant responsibility in the government. and i just said to him, he's a train wreck. he has no judgment, his demeanor, his effort is bad. just a putting in an important position. the last conversation we had that was the day after the
election when i met with the president elect and i begged him, what are you going to do, we're taught about who we might slip for chief of staff and i said to making other decisions until you the chief of staff in place. he said i made one already, nationals could visor. i said please tell me it's not mike flynn? he said stop. you just don't like mike flynn. i said you're right, i don't like you. you want to know why? he said yes. i said he can get you in trouble. it was the next day that i was fired. >> host: then you recount in the book a passing conversation at the white house after michael flynn is fired. >> guest: yes. valentine's day 2017, my wife and i went for lunch with the president. jared joined for lunch with the three of us.
mike flynn had been fired the day before. the president said now that we fired flynn when i can hear anymore about this russian stuff because he was the a guy who interacted with russia. i just started to laugh. i said mr. president, , there is no way. i said, i had run these investigations. i said i've been a subject of these investigations. the fact is that you are going to be going through this. will be talking about this at least through valentine's day of next year if not further. and he said no. jarrard told me, you're crazy. i said no, i'm not crazy. i've done this before, many, many times. i've run these investigations many times. it's going to take a while, and the advice which i given in dozens of times is there's no way you can make one of these shorter but there's lots of ways you can make them longer. >> host: was the firing of the james comey one of the accent
made it longer? >> guest: absolutely. absolutely an ill-advised act that was executed incorrectly and, which completely underestimated what the reaction of both politicians in washington and law enforcement across the country would be towards the president taking that kind of action. >> host: even though you don't think highly of steve bannon when he says that was the biggest political mistake of the first year, you would agree? >> guest: that's one of the places where steve and i are on the same page. >> host: we have three minutes to go. i was assassinated by this story in the book because most people don't write about athleticism and spent most of the time talking about not playing. you talk about being benched. if i recall correctly your senior year because another player took your position as catcher and yet you watch your team prevail and you are on the
bench. why was that important? >> guest: i think it's an important story because i think, i had a pretty wonderful childhood. and as a talk in the book i grew up in a great town, great friends, did very well in school and played a small and loved it and played with great players on great teams. my senior year a guy transferred from a private school back to public school, an old friend of mine who's also a catcher and i get benched after having been the start of the whole year and the year before. i had to sit there and watch as one of the captains of the team, even though i wasn't playing, as my team, my team, when 28 and two and we won the state championship. a lot of people told me to quit and i refused to quit. i hung in there, state as a
teammate. i think it was an important early life lesson for me. that life isn't always been to go your way, and when i got to the end of the season and i was celebrated on the field as a state championship with my friends i had been playing baseball since i was seven years old, i was really glad i had that quit. i hung in there. sit down hard and didn't complain and said you know what, i'm going to make myself a valuable member of the team is positive as again i will enjoy the experience. i think it taught me in life not to just dispose of things that you really care about. but be willing to fight for. i think that's the theme throughout the book. >> host: in the last minute, what did it teach you that experience about fairness and/or justice? >> guest: that life isn't fair. life is not always there. often it's not but you can't use it as an excuse to give up.
part of what this book "let me finish" is about is about getting knocked out and getting back up, getting knocked out in high school and getting back up and getting knocked down in your marriage early on and getting back up. getting knocked at an early political career and getting back up. getting knocked down as governor and getting back up. getting knocked out as a presidential candidate and getting back up. that's what my life is about. i will never quit and a vote of the people who read this book hopefully take -- someone who they may see a tv and do them a note to public life was called a lot of the same challenges has proceeded because he has to quit and they shouldn't quit either. my mother used to tell me, i remember, you are not the center of everyone's universe. it was a great lesson. she told all the time that you have to be the center of your universe. you have to be the one who
pushes procure yet to be the oo works hard and who never gets up. >> host: governor christie, it's been a pleasure, thank you. >> guest: thank you, sir. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable-television companies, and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider.
and now booktv's monthly "in depth" program with author and sportswriter dave zirin. he is the author of many books including "what's my name, fool?", sports and resistance in the united states, "game over," and most recently jim brown "last man standing." >> host: dave zirin six to join us here on this super bowl sunday. how did this they become a pseudo-national holiday? >> guest: great question. first and foremost an essential happy to be part of the alternative c-span programming for super bowl sunday. this is the pregame show everybody is turning into i think are turning away from the networks away from espn for our slambang affair. i think you can understand the growth super bowl sunday as a national holiday. personal without understandi