The two people informed of the meeting requested anonymity to speak about Culvahouse’s recent activities, which have been closely guarded.
A Trump spokesman declined to comment, citing the campaign’s policy of not commenting on the vice presidential search. Christie’s official spokesman referred The Washington Post’s inquiry to the Trump campaign. Culvahouse was unreachable.
The session, which took place at an unknown location, was described by a third person, a Trump ally, as an informal interview that was the last part of Christie’s vetting. That person said that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) and Christie are now the favorites to be selected in the coming days by the presumptive Republican nominee, with Pence the more likely selection.
Still, the person said, Trump and Christie have a strong rapport and are more personally close than Pence and Trump, and that dynamic has lifted Christie in the search. Christie is also managing the presidential transition project for Trump.
Others mentioned as possibilities by Trump associates, such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich and retired Lt. Gen Michael T. Flynn, remain well-liked by Trump but are not seen as leading candidates.
Notably, each person who spoke Monday with The Post cautioned that Trump is liable to change his mind and was undecided over the weekend as he socialized with friends and donors in the New York area.
Culvahouse, a longtime Republican lawyer, previously vetted vice presidential prospects for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who in 2008 selected then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
In an interview Monday with The Post’s Chris Cillizza, Trump signaled that he is leaning toward an elected official who could help unite the GOP around him, in particular, members of the party's wary political class.
Trump said he has “such great respect for the general” but “going political is an important thing.”
“I don’t need two anti-establishment people,” Trump added, further hinting that he is unlikely to select a political outsider.
Later Monday, Christie is scheduled to appear with Trump in Virginia Beach, where Trump plans to speak on reforming federal programs for veterans.