“It was a handshake like you would shake hands with anyone,” he said. “It was a perfectly natural, casual, normal type of greeting between two people. And you know, it’s become legend.”

Christie said the famed snapshot–showing the two leaders gripping hands and Obama with a hand on Christie’s shoulder–portrayed Christie’s bipartisan side, incited anger among some Republicans, and has been a constant source of questioning, even by those who haven’t seen the photo.

“If he deserved to be trashed I would have, as I had many times before that,” he said. “But he didn’t deserve it.”