Published 3:45 PM EDT Sep 11, 2018
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump accused former New Jersey governor Chris Christie of "stealing from me" and feared that a presidential transition team was “jinxing” his chances of victory during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on the Trump White House.
In one passage from "Fear: Trump in the White House," Woodward described a scene in which then-candidate Trump summoned Christie to Trump Tower along with campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Trump was angry to learn that Christie, whom he made head of his transition team in May 2016, was raising money for the team’s operations.
"Where the (expletive) is the money?" Trump asked Christie, according to Woodward. "I need money for my campaign. I’m putting money in my campaign and you’re (expletive) stealing from me."
Christie explained the money was necessary for the transition team to do its job of preparing Trump to smoothly take over the executive branch of the government should he defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
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Trump responded that one reason 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney failed to defeat President Barack Obama was because he spent too much time on his transition and not enough time campaigning, Woodward writes.
"That’s why he lost," Trump said.
Trump also expressed concern that the transition team was bringing bad luck to his campaign.
"You’re jinxing me," Woodward quotes Trump as saying. "I don’t want a transition. I’m shutting down the transition. I told you from day one it was just an honorary title. You’re jinxing me. I’m not going to spend a second on it."
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At that point, Bannon jumped in and tried to explain why the transition team was useful, according to Woodward. But Trump repeated, "It’s jinxing me."
After Bannon said that the news media was likely to read an end to the transition team as a sign that Trump didn’t believe he could win, the candidate relented. But he wanted the transition operation to be scaled down and for Christie to stop fundraising, Woodward writes.
"He can have his transition," Trump said, according to the book. "But I don’t want anything to do with it."
Trump replaced Christie as head of the transition team with his running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, three days after his election victory.