After months of fetching his lunch and being his whipping boy, Governor Chris Christie got no love from his Trumpidian overlord.
That was pretty obvious, when Christie was bounced as head of the transition team and replaced with Mike Pence a week ago.
Now more details are slipping out.
According to Politico, Trump tore into Christie over the phone about myriad issues, before telling him to take his shine box and go home.
Trump and his top aides were most concerned about two issues, according to nearly a dozen people briefed on the process: Christie’s mismanagement of the transition, and the lingering political fallout of the Bridgegate scandal.
In their phone call, which was relayed by three sources, Trump expressed his worry about the recent conviction of two of the governor’s former top aides, who had accused him of knowing more about the shutdown of the George Washington Bridge than he let on. Was more damaging information to come, Trump wondered?
After that discussion, the axe fell swiftly on Christie and his inner circle.
It was November 11 when Christie and all remnants of his supporters and sidekicks were trimmed out of the Trump transition team.
The switchover came with little warning. Richard Bagger, a former chief of staff to the New Jersey governor who had been the transition team’s executive director, found himself without access to the Trump offices where he’d been working, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Rick Dearborn, a top aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, was brought in to replace him.
Trump, however, apparently hadn’t been thrilled for some time.
He didn’t like that Christie was filling up the team with lobbyists. That was bad for the image of a “swamp drainer” that he’d been looking to cultivate.
He didn’t appreciate the fact that Christie was bringing along so many of his personal allies to the team.
There were other issues. Once the dust settled from their surprise win, the Trump team noticed that Christie had done little to vet potential administration picks or to dig into potential conflicts of interests. With Democrats eager to pounce on any early mistake, it was an oversight they simply couldn’t afford.
By Thursday of last week, Trump was telling aides that he was ready to make a change.
He likely didn’t really put a lot of work into vetting because nobody expected it to become a necessity. They were operating as a team that had no intention of actually winning.
There was also a failure on Christie’s part to recognize just how entrenched Trump’s family were in the workings of the Trump campaign.
While Christie and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner agreed to work together, there was lingering resentment, due to Christie having convicted Kushner’s father, Charles, when he was still a U.S. Attorney.
It was Kushner who argued against making Christie VP.
All of those things worked against Christie, and it finally came to a head.
I guess he got to hear the words, “You’re fired!” just like on reality TV.
Now the speculation is that once his term is done, Christie may retreat from politics, altogether, and become a radio sports host.
That would be interesting.
He may yet live to see his ouster from Team Trump as a blessing in disguise.