Chris Christie is back in New Jersey and badly wounded. He just failed to convince the legislature to relax ethics laws to allow him to profit from writing a book. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are more popular than he is in the Garden State, and the series of public humiliations he’s endured from the Trump camp since the election have been enough to make the Cleveland Browns blush.
At one time, he was in charge of the Trump transition team, but that plum position was yanked and his loyalists were largely purged from the lists. It was a predictable end if you knew that Christie had gone out of his way to humiliate the father of Trump’s son-in-law when he prosecuted him in 2005. The experience was traumatic enough for Jared Kushner, who was then working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, that he gave up his aspirations to become a prosecutor himself.
“My dad’s arrest made me realize I didn’t want to be a prosecutor anymore,” he said. “The law is so nuanced. If you’re convicting murderers, it’s one thing. It’s often fairly clear. When you get into things like white-collar crime, there are often a lot of nuances. Seeing my father’s situation, I felt what happened was obviously unjust in terms of the way they pursued him. I just never wanted to be on the other side of that and cause pain to the families I was doing that to, whether right or wrong.’’
When Christie announced he was running for president, the elder Kushners held a fundraiser at their Long Branch, New Jersey home for Donald Trump. When Christie’s campaign fizzled in New Hampshire, there wasn’t any good reason for Trump to turn down his endorsement and use him as a prop and gofer, but revenge was inevitable, and best served cold.
Trump is on the record in numerous places, including his books, talking about the importance of screwing your enemies harder than they ever screwed you. It’s a core belief for him. That made it easy to predict that Christie would eventually get dumped in the most painful and public way possible.
Yet, Christie is still in deep denial about what has happened to him, and why.
Mr. Christie still believes he has a political future nationally. He wants to write a book and his friends have been telling people in New Jersey that the governor expects Mr. Trump to eventually come around to him. According to their scenario, the White House management team of Jared Kushner, Stephen K. Bannon and Reince Priebus will be a disaster and Mr. Christie will be tapped as the skilled manager, like David Gergen, the former aide to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan who swooped in to steady Bill Clinton’s administration after a raucous first year.
It could very well be that Trump’s first team is a disaster and that he’ll be looking to bring in some savior to rescue his presidency, but his son-in-law is not going to get dumped for the guy who put his father in prison and held a press conference to make it as brutal as he could make it.
“It is incredibly humiliating for a man of Mr. Kushner’s power and prestige to say in an open court, to say three times, guilty as charged,” Christie said during a news conference at the time.
I would not be shocked in the least to see Attorney General Jeff Sessions overseeing the prosecution of Christie for Bridgegate or some other transgression. I definitely see it as more likely than Christie ever getting invited into Trump’s inner circle or to become his chief of staff.
If you don’t believe me, just watch this video of Trump explaining his philosophy of revenge:
Here’s the relevant part:
“One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you’ve got to hit ’em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You’ve got to get even. Get even. And the reason, the reason you do, is so important…The reason you do, you have to do it, because if they do that to you, you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can’t take advantage of you. It’s not so much for the person, which does make you feel good, to be honest with you, I’ve done it many times. But other people watch and you know they say, ‘Well, let’s leave Trump alone,’ or ‘Let’s leave this one,’ or ‘Doris, let’s leave her alone. They fight too hard.’ I say it, and it’s so important. You have to, you have to hit back. You have to hit back.”
There’s just no way that Trump would fail to hit Christie back for going after his in-laws, and Christie still doesn’t get it.