Christie on Trump: 'I can only take him at his word, and I am'

Christie School Funding
Gov. Christie addresses a gathering at a public forum Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, in New Providence, N.J.

Gov. Christie continued to stand by Donald Trump in a television interview that was telecast Tuesday, saying he is taking the GOP presidential candidate “at his word” that he has been falsely accused of making unwanted sexual advances.

“He’s assured me privately exactly what he said publicly, which is these are lies and fabrications,” Christie said in an interview conducted Monday by NBC News. Portions of the interview were shown Tuesday on MSNBC.

“I can only take him at his word, and I am,” Christie said.

The governor, who backed Trump after ending his own presidential campaign in February, said last week that comments by Trump in a recently unearthed video bragging about kissing and grabbing women were “indefensible,” but that he continued to support the businessman.

Trump – who said during the second presidential debate that he had never acted on the “locker-room talk” captured in the video – has since been accused by a number of women of making unwanted advances toward them, in interviews with the New York Times and other outlets. Trump has described the allegations as “false smears.”

As Trump continues his talk of a “rigged” election – despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud – Christie didn’t repeat the candidate’s rhetoric in the interview with NBC. “As far as the election’s concerned, I’m convinced that the election will be a fair one. And that the process will be one that will be accepted by the American people,” the governor said. “And I think he does too.”

Asked whether Trump would accept the election results, Christie said: “He’s going to have to speak for himself. I don’t speak for him. But my view is, absent some evidence of real fraud, I think you would accept it.”

The governor – who was named chairman of Trump’s White House transition team but has mostly stayed out of the campaign spotlight recently – sidestepped a question on whether he was proud of the way Trump had run his campaign.

“Listen, for me, the person who needs to be most concerned about the kind of campaign they’re running is the candidate. Because it’s the candidate’s campaign,” he said. “I’m proud of everything I’ve said, and that’s all I can control.”