New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie advised Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn, both before the November election and afterward, Christie said on Monday. This warnings came when Christie served as chairman of Trump’s transition team and before the team was made aware that Flynn, who served briefly as Trump’s national security adviser, was under federal investigation.
“I didn’t think that he was someone who would bring benefit to the president or to the administration,” Christie said at a news conference. “And I made that very clear to candidate Trump, and I made it very clear to President-elect Trump. That was my opinion, my view.”
Christie made clear that he did not believe Flynn was a suitable choice. “If I were president-elect of the United States, I wouldn’t let General Flynn in the White House, let alone give him a job,” he said.
Shortly after the election, Vice President Mike Pence took over the transition team from Christie. Christie was recently named the head of a White House commission to combat drug addiction, and he has been mentioned as a potential addition to the White House staff. Flynn was forced to resign in February after it became public that he had lied to Pence about his contact with the Russian ambassador.
Christie reportedly clashed with Flynn, who was an adviser to Trump during the campaign last year. According to NBC News, both men were present at Trump’s first intelligence briefing last August.
Meanwhile, four people with knowledge of the matter told NBC News that one of the advisers Trump brought to the briefing, retired general Mike Flynn, repeatedly interrupted the briefing with pointed questions.
Two sources said Christie, the New Jersey governor and Trump adviser, verbally restrained Flynn—one saying Christie told Flynn to shut up, the other reporting he said, “Calm down.” Two other sources said Christie touched Flynn’s arm in an effort get him to calm down and let the officials continue.
Both Christie and Flynn denied this at the time. But if it’s true, it would help explain why Christie on Monday said that Flynn was “not my cup of tea” and that they “didn’t see eye to eye.”