Chris Christie and Donald Trump laugh together during a commercial break in the midst of the February 6 Republican debate in New Hampshire.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was removed from Donald Trump's White House transition team following clashes with Trump's Jewish son-in-law, according to a report from Politico Friday.
Jared Kushner, husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka, was also behind Christie being pushed off a list of potential vice-presidential contenders, according to the Politico report, after tensions between the men reached a crescendo shortly after Trump secured the US Republican nomination in May.
Christie, then attorney-general of New Jersey, prosecuted Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, in 2004 on numerous charges, including illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering, according to the New York Times
. Charles Kushner subsequently served one-year in prison after settling on a negotiated plea agreement.
Trump meets Obama at White House
Sources who spoke to Politico said that clashes between Christie aides and Kushner have also emerged in recent days, leading to deeper fissures inside the Trump camp.
“The Christie people are from New Jersey, they act like they’re in charge, and Jared Kushner is like, ‘You're not really in charge,' " the source said.
Trump's pick for vice-president, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, now heads the transition team.
Kushner, who is Orthodox, advises Trump on issues involving Israel and worked on a draft of Trump’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March.
But Kushner was criticized numerous times during the US election campaign for not speaking out against antisemitic attacks directed toward journalists who have written critically of Trump, including editors at the publication he owns, The New York Observer.
Observer entertainment writer Dana Schwartz published “An Open Letter to Jared Kushner, From One of Your Jewish Employees” on the paper’s website in July.
Schwartz’s piece was a response to a tweet
from Trump’s official Twitter account that juxtaposed a picture of Hillary Clinton with a six-pointed star reminiscent of a Star of David over a background of dollar bills. Trump deleted the image, but many found the image to be the latest in a series of messages from his campaign with anti-Semitic undertones.
The then presumptive Republican presidential nominee said that the image was a “Sheriff’s Star” and that the media was “dishonest” for trying to portray it as a Star of David, although a millennial news site found that the image had been created for and previously shared on anti-Semitic internet message boards.
“You went to Harvard, and hold two graduate degrees,” Schwartz wrote to Kushner. “Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty. I’m asking you, not as a ‘gotcha’ journalist or as a liberal but as a human being: how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this.”
Trump has since made strides with the Jewish community, extending an invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shortly after securing the presidency following his shocking upset victory on Tuesday. JTA contributed to this article.