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Chris Christie warns a Trump second term will be a ‘vendetta presidency’

Chris Christie has warned that a second term with Donald Trump in the White House would become a “vendetta presidency” as the former president goes after those he feels has wronged him.

Speaking with ABC News in his first interview since dropping out of the Republican race about a month ago, Mr Christie said a second Trump administration will have a massive personnel problem.

Asked what a second Trump term would look like, Mr Christie said: “Mayhem. Absolute mayhem. First off, people forget that in the first term, he got a lot of good people to work for him in that administration.”

The former New Jersey governor mentioned a number of cabinet-level officials who were eventually fired or quit, such as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Defense Secretaries Mark Esper and Jim Mattis, former Attorney General Bill Barr, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Gen John Kelly.

“Whether you agree with their policies, these are really solid, experienced people in government,” Mr Christie told ABC.

“​I cannot imagine the crew that he’ll put together” in a second term, he added. “And he will do it with an eye much different than in ‘16. In ‘16, he was scared. He didn’t expect to win, and he was intimidated by the presidency when he first got there. He will not be this time.”

Mr Christie also ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2016. After dropping out, he endorsed Mr Trump and took the help of his transition team – something he has since said was a “mistake,” pointing to Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

Since then, Mr Christie has become one of the most outspoken Republican critics of the former president, prompting personal attacks from Mr Trump against the ex-governor.

Mr Christie told ABC that he doesn’t think Mr Trump will look for competent people to staff a possible second administration.

“​What he wants … are people who will just nod their heads, say yes and execute whatever his next rant will be. And so, one, it’ll be a huge personnel problem of people who have no business being in senior positions in the federal government,” he said.

“​And then secondly, I think we have to take him at his word. This is gonna be the vendetta presidency. This is gonna be, ‘I am your retribution.’ And I think he will use the levers of government to punish the people who he believes have been disloyal to him or to his approach,” he added.

Mr Trump has faced criticism for his increasingly authoritarian rhetoric, using words like “vermin” to describe his political opponents.

He has also said that he would be a “dictator” for the first day of his second term, but he has recently appeared to try to backtrack, saying things such as: “We’re going to make the country so successful again, I’m not going to have time for retribution. And remember this: Our ultimate retribution is success.”

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