Former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie claimed that phone calls from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner convinced him not to accept a role as former President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff.
Christie made the claim in his new book, Republican Rescue, which comes out next week. In it, he details two separate phone calls between the former President's daughter and son-in-law, both senior advisers, that precipitated him turning down the role.
Christie says he had expressed misgivings about managing White House affairs with Kushner in proximity because during his time as a federal prosecutor, he sent Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, to prison for tax fraud.
But Christie says Kushner claimed to be "fine" with the possibility despite a long-standing beef with the Kushner family and gave Christie his full support.
Things got a little weirder after Ivanka Trump phoned and spoke with Christie's wife, Mary Pat.
During the call, Ivanka Trump stressed that she would do her part not to allow the past interfere with their potential work with Christie, telling her:
"I know there have been problems between the governor and my husband's family in the past, but you have my word, wife to wife, mother to mother, that I will make sure that nothing like that happens if the governor comes here."
Christie writes that his wife was "taken aback" by the conversation and that the call convinced him not to accept the role:
"By that point, I had pretty much decided there was no way I was going to take this job. And the high-pressure campaign from the next generation, especially Ivanka's call to Mary Pat, wasn't about to convince me otherwise."
At the time, news outlets reported that Christie had turned down the role for "family reasons" but he says the two phone calls were why he officially withdrew his name from consideration.
Afterward, he recalls, former President Trump offered Christie other high-profile positions within his administration, including Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Homeland Security, none of which Christie accepted.
Christie says Trump had only a surface level understanding of what these roles actually entailed, writing:
"Secretary of labor. Secretary of homeland security. Ambassador to the Vatican. Ambassador to Italy."
"He figured I'd be a good fit at the Vatican since I am Catholic. He thought of me as ambassador to Italy because my mother was Italian."
"I don't think the analysis went any deeper than that. Trump didn't overanalyze choices like these."
Given that Christie continued to publicly support Trump for years despite these misgivings, his claims have garnered a largely negative reaction.
Christie sparred with Trump most recently after Trump attacked Christie over remarks he made at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Trump claimed that Christie "was just absolutely massacred by his statements that Republicans have to move on from the past, meaning the 2020 Election Fraud," continuing to amplify his lies that the 2020 general election was stolen.
Trump went on to say that Christie left the New Jersey governorship with an approval rating of just 9% when in fact Christie's approval rating, while the lowest of any governor in New Jersey's history, never dipped below 15%.
Christie had urged Republicans to move beyond Trump's preoccupation with the 2020 election, telling his audience that far more is at stake while "Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country."