Former New Jersey governor, member of the Trump transition team, and bridge lover Chris Christie has written a “memoir,” and one of the things he found memorable is how Donald Trump thought ditching Michael Flynn would be the “end of the Russia thing.”
According to the New York Times account of Christie’s writing, the early supporter of Trump finds him “less of a cartoon figure” than he appears in other books written by people who have spent … a lot more time with Trump than Christie. But that doesn’t mean Christie’s book makes Trump out a hero. America’s beach body describes Trump as “averse to interpersonal conflict with people he likes, needlessly nasty to some subordinates and prone to trusting people he should not.” In other words, Donald Trump is afraid to actually deliver his catch phrase “you’re fired” except to people who don’t deserve it.
Dining with Trump and Jared Kushner the day after Michael Flynn had been dismissed from his role as National Security Advisor, Christie was informed by Trump that “This Russia thing is all over now, because I fired Flynn.” Christie’s response to this was to begin laughing.
So … Christie may not paint Trump as a cartoon figure. But he certainly makes him out to be a joke.
According to Christie, he attempted to explain to Trump that just ditching one of his many (many) connections to Russia was unlikely to make any kind of dent in the ongoing coverage, or the concern of law enforcement. But Trump didn’t believe him. Because Trump was getting his strategy straight from the man who would go on to solve the opioid crisis and bring peace to the Middle East — Jared Kushner.
Mr. Trump responded: “What do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn. It’s over.”
Mr. Kushner added, “That’s right, firing Flynn ends the whole Russia thing.”
The extent to which Trump allowed — and continues to allow — Kushner to set the direction and tone in the White House appears to be a major theme in Christie’s book.
It seems only right that Chris Christie would pause in his narrative to complain that Jared Kushner eats a lot of salads. But beyond the wunderkind’s willingness to join Christie and Trump in a double-stuff everything, it often seems that everything in the Trump White House is being dictated by someone whose biggest claim to fame is nearly sinking a billion dollar family business under the weight of his rabidly poor decisions.
The way to do well with Trump is, as several other sources have indicated, to agree with Kushner, even when he’s giving ridiculous advice. Several of those involved in the 2016 campaign seem to have understood that, including Paul Manafort who credited his ability to tell Kushner what he wanted to hear with his ability to oust manager Corey Lewandowski and take over as the chair of Trump’s campaign.
But despite his telling Trump that the Russia investigation wasn’t going to magically switch off with the dismissal of Flynn, Christie also maintains that there wasn’t any broad conspiracy inside the Trump campaign. His evidence — they were too stupid.
Mr. Christie said the campaign was too disorganized and threadbare “to run a Tom Clancy operation,” and said he never saw evidence of collusion with Russian officials. But he argued that people like Mr. Flynn never should have been hired in the first place.
But no one has suggested that Trump was running a sophisticated, multi-tiered engine of deception. Instead, it seems increasingly obvious that all Trump did was follow Moscow’s direction, cooperating with Vladimir Putin and his cadre of oligarchs in exchange for the promise of collecting One (one) Giant Golden Skyscraper come the day after election when everyone would simply forget about Trump’s connections with Russia and let him go on his way. He was probably sure of that. Because Jared told him.
After all, being stupid is a good first step in being a dupe.