Gov. Chris Christie says he thought he was doing what was best for the country when he endorsed Donald Trump for president last year.
In an extended interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, Christie says he knew support was rapidly deteriorating among his own constituents as he spent more time out of state campaigning for president. And when he officially endorsed Trump, he said he wasn't worried because "I knew I was never going to run in New Jersey again."
"I was doing what I thought was best for the country," he told the Times. "And for me."
Christie recently ranked as the least popular governor in the U.S. in a survey by The Morning Consult.
It seemed for awhile his early support of Trump would land him a post in the White House. He was ultimately shut out, though Christie maintains he speaks to the president -- with whom he says he's been friends 15 years -- on the phone at least once a week.
"There are other nights where we talk where we literally just don't talk about business at all," he told the Times. "And he'll be shooting the bull about sports or some show he saw on television or a movie or whatever, or he'll be asking me about Mary Pat and the kids."
"It will be purely just a friendly conversation. And then at the end he might say: 'So how do you think I'm doing? And how do you think it's going?'"
As he contemplates his future as his term winds down, Christie says whether it's law or media or some type of corporate post, he just wants to "have fun."
"I want to have fun, and I want to make money," he told the Times. "If I'm not going to be in public service, then I want to make money."
Christie says his main goals for his final year as governor is getting Horizon, the state's largest health insurance carrier, to subsidize his drug program; shifting lottery revenue to shore up the heavily underfunded pension system; and "cementing" the changes he has brought to drug and alcohol treatment and punishment, according to the Times.
Christie has focused much of his time in office on the issue of drug addiction, and vowed to tackle the crisis in his last year. He was also tapped by the president last month to lead a new addiction commission to combat the nationwide epidemic. Christie told The Associated Press at the time he had no interest in having a permanent role in the Trump administration, but that he was happy to spear the anti-drug effort.
Read more from the interview here.