BEACHWOOD, Ohio (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is disappointed but has “no discontent” over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s decision to choose someone else as his running mate.
Christie told reporters Sunday night he didn’t lobby to become Trump’s vice president pick and was honored to be considered. Trump on Friday chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence after a vetting process that also included New Jersey’s Republican governor.
“Of course, you’re disappointed. I don’t ever get into anything that I don’t want to win,” Christie said. “But I’ve been through this parade before, and I realize it’s like getting hit by lightning.”
Christie gave his first public comments since Trump’s decision after a private speech Sunday at a hotel near where Republicans are gathering for this week’s convention in Cleveland. He was among the three finalists for the choice, along with Newt Gingrich. Christie is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday.
Christie, once considered the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, stunned some of his own allies by becoming the first of the Republican hopefuls to endorse Trump after ending his own campaign. Christie, 53, was initially an ever-present pre-running mate, appearing at Trump’s side during speeches, nodding in agreement.
Trump has since tapped him to lead the presidential transition, a massive hiring-and-organization challenge that would be required if Trump defeats his likely Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton in November.
“All I know is that Donald called me and told me he was going with Gov. Pence, and I told him OK and I was looking forward to doing the transition, and we had a great conversation,” Christie said. “We’ve been friends for 15 years, so this is just another one of those steps along our friendship and a hard decision for him to make, and he made what he thought was the best decision.”
The convention hits at a politically volatile time in New Jersey: Christie has stopped transportation projects over a disagreement about how to pay for the transportation trust fund; a top former appointee and mentor pleaded guilty Thursday to federal bribery charges for using his role as chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for personal gain; and the George Washington Bridge lane closure case is headed for court in September.