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September 08, 2017

Bannon: Christie lost potential Cabinet job because of 'Access Hollywood' tape reaction

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lost a potential job in the Donald Trump administration because of his reaction to the president's lewd comments that leaked during the election.

In an interview on "60 Minutes" that is set to air Sunday, Bannon told Charlie Rose that when Trump's 2005 comments to "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush were released, it served as a "litmus test" for supporters of the campaign.

In the leaked tape, Trump says, among other things, that he tried to forcibly kiss women and that when you're a "star" you can just "grab them by the p****."

Bannon defended the comments in his interview with Rose, referring to Trump's comments as "locker room talk," a phrase Trump himself and many of his supporters used to try and downplay the remarks.

The former top White House aide also said the October weekend when the tape was published cost Christie a Cabinet position. Christie, who had mounted a 2016 presidential campaign of his own before dropping out and supporting Trump, called the comments "completely indefensible."

“I won’t defend it and haven’t defended it. That kind of talk and conversation, even in private, is just unacceptable," Christie said.

At the time, Christie said he urged Trump to apologize for the remarks. But according to Bannon, Christie's reaction to the 2005 tape meant he was essentially pulled from consideration for a spot in the Trump White House. Here's Bannon's exchange with Rose, via CBS News:

Bannon: I did. O – I gotta – I gotta – you know, I'm Irish. I gotta get my black book and I got 'em. … Christie, because of Billy Bush weekend – and – was – was – not looked at for a Cabinet position.

Rose: He wasn't there for you on Billy Bush weekend so, therefore, he doesn't get a Cabinet position?

Bannon: I told him, "The plane leaves at 11 o'clock in the morning. If you're on the plane, you're on the team." Didn't make the plane.

Bannon left his White House post in August and returned to Breitbart, the far-right conservative news outlet where he had served as executive chairman before joining Trump's campaign in late 2016.