Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said he was “disappointed” in the move by President Donald Trump to name former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort interim White National Security Adviser.
“I’m disappointed,” Christie said Thursday on CNN.
“It was a terrible mistake.
The President needs to know that the country is behind him.”
Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign chairman, was previously appointed to a deputy role in the White House and was promoted to acting national security adviser last month after the Trump administration announced the dismissal of Michael Flynn as national security advisor.
Manafort has been a vocal critic of Trump’s presidency and has been under pressure to step aside amid revelations of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He resigned from the Trump campaign in August amid an FBI investigation into whether he misled White House staff about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Christie, who had been considered a potential running mate for Trump, said Trump has to “hold himself accountable” for his decision to replace Flynn with Manafort.
Christie said that Trump has “lost his credibility.”
He also said that “it’s time for the president to say that he can’t have somebody that he’s putting in charge of the FBI that has no integrity.”
Manafort’s departure comes as the White the FBI’s Russia probe continues to evolve.
The New York Times reported last week that investigators have concluded they have sufficient evidence of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials to warrant an investigation into Manafort.
A source told the Times that Mueller is also looking into allegations that Manafort received $12.5 million in undisclosed payments from the Ukrainian government.
The Times reported that Manafort “is expected to plead guilty to some of the charges he faces and cooperate with prosecutors.”
Christie, however, said the White has not yet made any decision on whether Manafort will plead guilty or cooperate with Mueller.
“We’re going to wait and see,” Christie told CNN.