Christie as A.G.: Why former associates think it would be a great move

Governor Chris Christie, chairman of the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, joins Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, President, Chief Executive Officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Stephen J. Ubl and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram speak to the press after a roundtable discussion with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance a public-private partnership that can address America’s epidemic of addiction while at the War Memorial in Trenton, N.J. on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

The person on the other end of the phone — someone who has worked with Chris Christie before — admits they didn’t always have the best relationship with the former governor.

“It was hot and cold,” they said.

They also admitted this: Christie would be a fabulous pick to be the next attorney general of the United States.

“I think he’s incredibly well qualified to be the attorney general of this country,” they said. “He understands the system, he’s been in the system.

“Set aside his years as governor and go back to how he became the governor: He was the law and order U.S. attorney who had liked 130 convictions and no losses. He understands the bureaucracy he would be getting himself into and I think he would be up to speed overnight.”

The reaction was similar to those of two other former Christie associates. All requested to speak on background due to the speculative nature of the questioning.

And all thought Christie would be perfect for the job. None thought it would be a risk.

“His approval rating is at 14,” one joked. “It can only go up.”

Jokes aside, one person thought it would be good for New Jersey’s reputation on a national scale.

“It would put a different spin on the state, especially after the ugly Menendez-Hugin campaign (for U.S. Senate),” they said. “It would put New Jersey into a good light because he would not embarrass us. He’s too smart.”

That was the opinion of another former associate.

“He has one of the most incisive minds I’ve ever had the opportunity to work around, so, just on smarts alone, he would be great pick,” they said.

The person also thought Christie would respect the line between politics and law enforcement.

“He was very respectful when governor of not commenting or crossing over to comment on Department of Justice or Attorney General work,” they said.

Christie’s relationship with Trump has been hot and cold, too.

After all, he was fired as the head of his transition team.

One source thought that was a plus.

“He has built a relationship with (Trump) that includes disagreements and solid advice, so they presumably would enjoy a better relationship than the one Trump had with (former AG Jeff Sessions)” they said.

One source said Christie would be able to keep his distance.

“The interesting part of being the attorney general, notwithstanding how it looks right now, he really is a separate constitutional officer,” they said. “Yes, he can get fired by the president, but it’s unlikely this guy would get himself in a position where he would get fired by the president.”

Whether he will get the opportunity is anyone’s guess.

At this point, Christie’s name is just being floated.

By whom isn’t as clear.

“For all I know, it was planted by Christie,” one source said. “He loves the pomp and circumstance that would go along with being the attorney general.”

That love of limelight could stop the process before it starts.

“I just don’t know if the Trump people would allow someone to outshine Trump,” one insider said.

One former associate said Trump would be wise to consider Christie.

“No one is more qualified for this position that Gov. Christie,” Bill Palatucci said. “He’s not seeking the position, but he should be under serious consideration.”