New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first notable endorsement Donald Trump received back in February. Christie looked awkward standing behind Trump following that moment as he had just quit the presidential race a day earlier.
It wasn’t the first time the governor had appeared to be bending with the prevailing winds to suit his own personal career.
It could be said this ideology of “I feel strongly both ways” started at the Republican National Convention held in Tampa in August, 2012. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was the party’s nominee and Christie had been selected to give the keynote address. Ordinarily someone in that vaulted position expresses his undying endorsement to the nominee and concentrates on his attributes for the presidency.
Surprisingly, Christie spent the bulk of his time at the podium discussing his own childhood, mother, career and anything other than Romney until well into the speech. The gathered crowd left the building wondering what that was all about, but it was the first real sign of his ambitions at any cost.
He continued to show his singular ambition later that Fall when Hurricane Sandy ravished the East Coast, especially his state of New Jersey. It was a week before the election and Romney was slightly ahead in most polls. It was a time to focus solely on the Republican candidate and nothing else if you were an ardent supporter.
In what was now well known in GOP circles, Christie combed the battered beaches of New Jersey with President Barack Obama, with full media coverage, pandering for federal funds to help his hurricane-damaged state. Not only that, this friendly chat included a warm hug and dizzying back-slapping at their joint press conference.
Many Republican lawmakers and pollsters felt it was the defining moment of Romney’s defeat one week later. How could the governor be so blind as to offer up such a grand photo-op of the Democratic challenger basically hand-in-hand with Romney’s opposition?
But Christie’s final mistake was the scandal known as “Bridge-gate.” His surrogates at the state house brought their own brand of vengeance on the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a town next to the busiest bridge in the tri-state area; the George Washington Bridge.
They ordered lane closures that predictably backed up traffic for miles, stranding motorists, ambulance and school buses for hours, as their form of retribution for a mayor who did not support their Tony Soprano-type thug governor.
Two of Christie’s staff were recently convicted of this vendetta and face up to 20-years in federal prison. Supposedly there has no evidence was found to implicate the rotund governor. Even so, there are few in New Jersey who believe he did not orchestrate the order to do so. It was a reflection of the Hollywood fall guy, or he and she.
Christie’s future could be seen clearly on his worrisome face election night as Trump declared victory with his closest allies. He had every right to worry about his rumored nod for attorney general. As one Trump aides put it, on that night Trump was so “disgusted” with Christie’s management style as revealed in a recent court case that he’s “kicking” the governor out of his inner circle. In fact, some Trump aides regard the New Jersey governor as “a stupid thug who really needed to go,” a transition-team source told The New York Post.
To make matters worse for the besieged governor, a source close to the Trump transition team said, “Trump thought it was shameful that Christie didn’t take the fall for newly convicted aide Bridget Kelly. Trump is really angry that Christie is sending a soccer mom to jail. He believes 100 percent that Christie was behind it all.”
In one fell swoop, Christie, who reached one of the highest pinnacles in the Republican Party as their keynote speaker, was done in the eyes of Trump’s new status as President-elect. No cabinet position, no participation in the transition, nothing.
Christie’s final death sentence? Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, was convicted in federal court earlier this month along with former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni. They deliberately caused dangerous traffic tie-ups on the George Washington Bridge in September, 2013 as political payback for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich not endorsing Christie, a jury determined. It was New Jersey’s mini-Watergate, and Christie let them take the fall to save his ego-driven ass.
Christie mistook Trump for a scheming billionaire businessman with no scruples. Quite the contrary, “Trump really doesn’t like it when married women with kids get hurt in politics,” the source told the Post. “Trump was pretty disgusted with Christie.”
In Donald Trump’s world of morals and ethics, Christie did not man up and take responsibility for Bridge-gate. “She, Bridget Kelley, was a factor in the decision because Trump didn’t like seeing her crying,” the source said.
But that wasn’t all that Christie did to annoy Trump. As had become apparent to many Trump insiders, Christie was out for Chris Christie and nothing else. He distanced himself from Trump when the campaign was in a major tailspin. He also failed to attend the second debate.
Christie, the man who had the brightest political future in the Republican Party four-years-ago, was officially ousted Friday as chair of Trump’s transition team. The job was given to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp in Washington. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie became the poster child of just what Trump meant.