Christie Drops Out of Consideration for Chief of Staff: 'Not the Right Time'

President Donald Trump (L) speaks with Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) on October 26, 2017 in the East Room of the White House. / Getty Images
December 14, 2018

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R.) took himself out of the running to be President Donald Trump's chief of staff on Friday, calling it an honor but saying it was not the "right time for me or my family."

"It is an honor to have the President consider me as he looks to choose a new White House Chief of Staff. However, I have told the President that now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment," Christie said in a statement. "As a result, I have asked him to no longer keep me in any of his considerations for this post."

Christie endorsed Trump shortly after dropping out of the Republican primary race in 2016, in spite of previously saying he wasn't qualified for the position. They have had a bumpy relationship since then, however. Trump dropped Christie as the head of his transition team shortly after winning the election, and he then decided not to nominate the former prosecutor for attorney general.

The notoriously crusty Christie did not take kindly to his earlier treatment by Trump, The Washington Post reported. Trump did not formally offer him the job when they met Thursday, CNN reported.

Christie would have had tensions with Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, whose father was prosecuted by Christie in 2004 when he was U.S. attorney. Charles Kushner was charged with tax evasion, witness tampering and illegal campaign contributions, and he ultimately served two years in prison after pleading guilty.

Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Nick Ayers already declined the position, electing to take a job outside the White House to help with Trump's re-election. Trump also considered Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) but ultimately told the Freedom Caucus chairman he wanted him to stay on Capitol Hill.

Current Chief of Staff John Kelly initially was supposed to leave his position at the end of the year but now will stay on until at least Jan. 2, according to counselor Kellyanne Conway. Whoever replaces him will be Trump's third chief of staff in less than two years in office, as he attempts to navigate perhaps the most turbulent period of his presidency and an incoming Democratic House of Representatives.