New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who jumped on the Trump bandwagon after he ended his presidential bid during the primary season, could step down as head of president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, opening the way for tech billionaire Peter Thiel to step in, the Huffington Post reported Thursday.
Thiel stood in opposition to his Silicon Valley brethren in strongly supporting Trump during the election campaign. The Post, quoting an anonymous source, said it is unclear if the PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member would accept the position if offered, but he indicated Wednesday to the New York Times he would advise Trump informally on technology issues.
“I’ll try to help the president in any way I can,” said Thiel, who donated $1.25 million to the Trump campaign.
Trump’s attitude toward Silicon Valley could prove problematic. He already has picked fights with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, threatening to go after him for anti-trust violations because of continued criticism from his Washington Post, and Apple’s Tim Cook for the tech giant’s refusal to help the FBI break into a terrorist’s iPhone after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
As for Christie, he’s been in the thick of planning for months and his name keeps coming up as a possible nominee for attorney general although he said he hasn’t discussed a possible administration post.
In fact, Christie said on NBC’s “Today” he hadn’t even discussed the transition with Trump before the election, saying the president-elect was “absolutely adamant” about not talking about it until after he was elected.
Christie said he expects Trump and President Barack Obama to be able to work together on a smooth transition despite their contentious past. Obama campaigned hard for Trump rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, and repeatedly called Trump unqualified for the presidency. Trump took a high-profile position in the birther movement, ultimately claiming credit for Obama’s decision to release his birth certificate.
"What these two men recognize is that now this is about governing and leading the nation and the world," he said. "And they have a lot more important things to talk about besides slights, real or perceived in the past."
Trump and Obama met for the first time Thursday at the White House.