In an appearance to promote his book “Let Me Finish” on Monday’s broadcast of radio’s “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) dismissed the notion that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign “Access Hollywood” tape controversy, also known as “Billy Bush weekend,” was worse than the scandal currently facing Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA).
Northam is under fire for yearbook images that included Klan robes and blackface.
When asked by host Hugh Hewitt if the situation was as bad, Christie replied, “God, no.”
Partial transcript as follows:
HEWITT: OK, that’s the third time. Last time, Hollywood Access. “It would not be, it would be hard to think of any way to fully capture just how not good they were.” At that point, I called on him to drop out. I was with Reince. Get out.
HEWITT: You know, you can’t win this thing. You never counseled him to get out?
CHRISTIE: No. Two reasons. One was that I said to him she is simply the worst presidential candidate of my lifetime, so you don’t know what could happen with her between now and then. And if she gives you an opening, you could still win this thing. And secondly, I knew my friend, Donald Trump, much better than Reince did. He was never going to quit. And this was the conversation between Reince and I that day in his apartment. I said Reince, don’t give him advice that there’s no chance he’s going to take, because he will never quit. He would rather get 10% of the vote and lose 90-10 than quit. That’s just not Donald Trump. He’s not a quitter, and he won’t quit.
HEWITT: Is the Hollywood Access tape worse than what Ralph Northam finds himself in?
CHRISTIE: No. God, no. No.
HEWITT: And by the way, if you had ever been in blackface or a Ku Klux Klan, would you have misremembered being in it and then the next day say you weren’t?
HEWITT: I mean, I don’t believe him.
CHRISTIE: Yeah, you know, listen. Here’s the bottom line, and I said this, this morning on CNN. You know, the problem for him besides the underlying issue is that he’s been all over the place since then. And I can’t imagine that if you put that picture on your yearbook page that you wouldn’t know who the people in the picture were, and if it was, if you were one of them, that you wouldn’t know whether it was you or not.
HEWITT: And you would go tear out every page, and you would throw a fit. Let me close, because I know I’ve got to let you go at the top of the hour, and then you’re going to come back and talk to me afterwards. Rudy agrees to do all of the Sunday shows after Access Hollywood coms out.
HEWITT: That’s why he’s his lawyer right now, I think. Rudy is fearless. I love the story about his announcing his endorsement of you on the front lawn of John Corzine’s apartment in Hoboken.
HEWITT: But is that why Rudy is there, because he took the bullet at Hollywood Access?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think not for that reason in particular, but I think what you said before, is that Rudy is fearless. And I think that the President knows that Rudy is fearless, and that Rudy will go out and do what the President wants him to do. And I’ve said to many people, I think Rudy is acting as much as his legal spokesman as he is as his lawyer. And he’s doing the things that the President wants him to do. And I think Rudy does them often because he’d prefer them to come out of his mouth than his client’s. And I think that’s a lawyer protecting his client. But I will tell you that Kellyanne and I were both really frustrated that night that Rudy volunteered to do it, because what we were attempting to do was to get Donald to do the interview. And then if he knew that both Kellyanne and I were saying listen, we can’t answer these questions until you answer them, that we would get him to do the David Muir interview that we wanted him to do, because we thought it was so important for him to get out there in some way before the debate to try to defuse it at least a little bit. And then when Rudy raised his hand and said I’ll do all of them, well, that killed that strategy. And Rudy went on the next day, and quite frankly, the President wasn’t happy with what he did, and gave Rudy holy hell over how he performed on the shows.
HEWITT: But Comey saves you.
CHRISTIE: Yes, he does.
HEWITT: Did Comey win Donald Trump the election?
CHRISTIE: I believe that Comey was the single biggest factor in changing the momentum after Access Hollywood and before the election.
HEWITT: So that’s a yes.
HEWITT: So now, weren’t you worried, as I was, the reason I didn’t say I would never vote for him is because it was going to be Hillary or him if he was still on the ticket, and I wasn’t going to vote for Hillary. Just like you, it’s a binary choice.
HEWITT: But weren’t you worried there was more? What about the Mark Burnett tapes that allegedly exist? Were you, did you ever ask him if there’s more?
CHRISTIE: We all asked him on Access Hollywood weekend, and he told us that there weren’t. Now you know, I don’t know whether there are or there are not. He’s told me that there weren’t. None have surfaced, so I take the President at his word. But I can tell you this. On Access Hollywood, he didn’t even remember that tape. I mean, and if you look at it contextually, why would he? He probably did not know he was being recorded at that time, didn’t think or remember that it was a hot mic. He’s on a bus with Billy Bush going to do Access Hollywood. This is not like one of those, you know, bucket list moments for Donald Trump.
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