By Dustin Racioppi
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still supporting Donald Trump for president even though he was "disturbed," "disappointed" and "embarrassed" by a video released last week revealing the Republican nominee, then a reality television star, bragging about groping women.
"Let's be really clear. It is completely indefensible and I won't defend it and haven't defended it. That kind of talk and conversation, even in private, is just unacceptable," Christie said. "I made that very clear to Donald on Friday when this first came out and urged him to be contrite and apologetic because that's what he needs to be."
Christie made his first public comments on the video since it was reported last Friday during an appearance as co-host of the "Boomer and Carton" sports-talk radio show on WFAN-660 AM.
Christie said he did "think about" his support for Trump after the video's release, "but in the end this election's about bigger issues than just that."
In the video, Trump tells Billy Bush, then host of the show "Access Hollywood," that he has used his celebrity to make sexual advances on women.
"I moved on her like a (expletive)," Trump said. His star power, he said, allowed him to kiss and touch women unsolicited. "Grab them by the (expletive). You can do anything."
Christie said, "this is just stuff that you just can't, can't be involved in and shouldn't even be thinking."
But Christie, who was the first of the presidential candidates to endorse Trump and now leads his White House transition team, is sticking by the nominee as dozens of other Republicans have withdrawn their support or called on him to leave the ticket. New Jersey's Lt. Gov., Kim Guadagno, said over the weekend that she would not vote for Trump, publicly breaking with Christie.
"I'm still supporting Donald. Obviously I was disappointed by what happened and disappointed in some respects by the response initially but I'm still supporting him," Christie said, later adding, "I'm not going to sit here and be critical of other people who make the decision that they don't want to support him."
Christie said he was with Trump on Friday when he learned of the video, which was from footage that did not air. He said he urged Trump to be contrite. Trump did apologize on video late Friday night, but then turned his attention to his Democratic opponent's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and history of sexual affairs and allegations of sexual assault. Christie said the apology was not sufficient.
"I would have done it much differently, but I do think he's sorry and I do think he's embarrassed by it," Christie said. "I think that he should have been much more direct and much more focused on just saying I'm sorry and only I'm sorry."
Christie spoke with Trump through the weekend, he said, but did not attend Sunday night's debate because of "issues to deal with" in New Jersey.
Trump acknowledged Monday that there is a possibility of more harmful recordings being released. Christie would not speculate on what could become public, though, and that if there are any damning revelations, "you evaluate all that on its own merit if and when it comes."
(c)2016 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)