President-elect Donald Trump is so disgusted with Chris Christie’s handling of the Bridgegate scandal that he’s kicking the New Jersey governor out of his inner circle, The Post has learned.
“Trump thought it was shameful that Christie didn’t take the fall for [convicted aide] Bridget Kelly,” said a source close to the transition team. “Trump is really angry that Christie is sending a soccer mom to jail. He believes 100 percent that Christie was behind it all.”
Christie’s former deputy chief of staff was convicted in federal court earlier this month along with former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni. They were charged with causing dangerous traffic tie-ups on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 as political payback for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich not endorsing Christie.
Kelly testified that Christie knew of the shutdown of several lanes of traffic, a charge Christie has repeatedly denied.
The former aides could face more than 20 years in jail.
“Trump really doesn’t like it when married women with kids get hurt in politics,” said the source. “Trump was pretty disgusted with Christie.”
Christie’s failure to take responsibility for Bridgegate was the final straw in an already eroding relationship, said a second source, who is close to the Trump campaign.
“She was a factor in the decision because Trump didn’t like seeing her crying,” the source said.
When Christie again denied all responsibility for Bridgegate in an interview with Charlie Rose on Monday, Trump’s frustration grew, the source said.
Tensions had been building for weeks between the two men, with some Trump insiders questioning Christie’s loyalty in the last month of the campaign, when it looked like Trump would lose.
Christie canceled appearances on Sunday shows after the “Access Hollywood” video of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was leaked on Oct. 7, the source said. He also failed to attend the second debate, and canceled campaigning with Trump in the last weekend of the race, the source said.
Christie was formally pushed aside Friday as chair of Trump’s transition team and the job given to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Tech billionaire and loyal Trump supporter Peter Thiel, also added to the team Friday, will have a leadership role, the first source told The Post. Christie retains a token title of vice chair but no real role going forward, sources said.
Christie will now likely focus on what job he can get for himself in a new Trump administration. But a third source said the Trump team views him as virtually “unconfirmable” for a Cabinet-level post.
“They want to drain the swamp, and having Christie there is just plugging it up,” the source said. “He was tolerated in the past because he was viewed as a kind of nice Tony Soprano. But now that Trump is the president-elect those days are over.”
Some close to Trump regarded the New Jersey governor as “a stupid thug who really needed to go,” the transition-team source told The Post.
But Christie said in a statement Friday: “I am proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people. I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to continue to help lead in this next phase.”
A Christie spokesman did not return messages seeking comment Saturday.
The Trump campaign refused to comment.
This article originally appeared in the NY Post.