According to New York Post, Donald Trump came very close picking New Jersey governor Chris Christie for his running mate, but his campaign manager intervened before the mogul made his choice.
Christie was Trump’s rival before backing his White House run, and he stood next to Mike Pence and Newt Gingrich as the mogul’s top choices for vice-president. According to the Post, Christie was Trump’s tentative first choice, even though numerous top aides were more in favor of Pence.
“Trump cares about who’s the most loyal and who kisses his a** the most, not who’s the most qualified and what’s the best political decision,” said the Post‘s unnamed source. “If it was up to him, it would have been Christie.”
Paul Manafort was still running the Trump campaign during this period, and it would seem he orchestrated events so that Trump would meet with Pence. Back in July, Manafort reportedly told Trump that his plane was having a malfunction that would require them to stay in Indianapolis overnight, which led to an unscheduled dinner with the Indiana governor.
“Trump had wanted Christie, but Bridgegate would have been the biggest national story,” another source said. “He’d lose the advantage of not being corrupt.”
Reports at the time suggested that Trump went through a period of great uncertainty and reluctance about choosing Pence for his number two spot. Nonetheless, the Post reports that Trump called Christie after his dinner with Pence, and told the governor about his decision.