Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Sunday blamed a sloppy transition for the near constant scandals in the Trump administration.
“If Mr. Pruitt is going to go, it’s because he should have never been there in the first place,” Christie, now an ABC News contributor, told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.
He was referring to recent reporting by ABC News and Bloomberg that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — and, for a time, his daughter — rented a Washington townhouse co-owned by the wife of a powerful energy lobbyist for well below the market rate.
Christie, after months of transition work in preparation for a potential Trump electoral victory, was replaced as leader of Trump’s transition team by Mike Pence, then the vice president-elect, on Nov. 11, 2016.
“He was ill-served right from the beginning by a group of people who threw all the transition work out,” Christie said earlier in the show. “Thirty-five 8-inch binders of vetting of over 350 people that were consistent with his views that they got rid of, literally threw in the garbage, George, three days after the election and started over.”
Christie also pointed to a Washington Post report last week on the Presidential Personnel Office. The report found that the office, which selects and vets candidates for Trump administration jobs, was itself staffed with inexperienced and unqualified appointees, two of whom had arrest records: “a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks and a Marine Corps reservist with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking,” in the Post’s words.
“This was a brutally unprofessional transition,” Christie said Sunday. “This was a transition that didn’t vet people for these types of judgment issues, which I think could have been seen very easily in a lot of these people, and you cannot do this with Rick Dearborn and Steve Bannon on the back of an envelope in 73 days. And the President has been ill-served by this. And if Mr. Pruitt is going to go, it’s because he should have never been there in the first place.”
“I don’t know how you survive this one,” he added, referring to the scandal surrounding Pruitt’s former living arrangement.