Following Donald Trump’s presidential victory last night, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be the Republican politician who stands to gain the most from his loyalty to the Trump campaign. Christie’s early and enthusiastic endorsement for the president-elect could land him a spot in Trump’s cabinet, with Fox Business reporting that he is already under consideration for Attorney General.
That nomination would lift the yoke of Christie’s dismal 19 percent approval rating at home, and offer him a flattering exit as Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno takes his place.
A source close to the governor told Observer that the Attorney General appointment is at the top of Christie’s wish list, though serving as Trump’s chief of staff comes in at a close second. Failing that chance to act as the official barrier between Trump those outside his circle, the source said that Christie has an outside chance of taking Reince Priebus’ place as RNC chairman.
Even Christie’s critics concede that Trump’s triumph over Hillary Clinton will keep his star from fading. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democratic candidate for governor and the chairman of the original investigative committee on Bridgegate, said he will most likely not reconvene that committee as expected.
“Clearly, Chris Christie is very fortunate in Donald Trump’s victory. It provides him with an opportunity to move on to a different capacity before the end of his term,” Wisniewski said. “I would be certain that that role will start before his term as governor ends.”
“There’s a possibility that by the time the decision-making process is undertaken by legislative leadership that he may no longer be governor,” he said of the new committee hearings.
Then again, Christie could decide against staying in the public sector at all. Rider University political scientist Ben Dworkin predicted that after 16 years on the public payroll, the governor may opt for a better-compensated role in the private sector. He cited the governor’s volatile relationship with some in Trump’s closely guarded inner circle, and the odds that the Trump administration will want confirmation hearings to go off without a hitch.
“I’m not sure he will take it,” Dworkin said of a potential cabinet offer. “There are people in the Trump world that aren’t big fans of Chris Chirstie, so he may run into opposition there. If he has to go in front of the United States Senate for confirmation, I think Democrats will certainly use the opportunity to bring up many unanswered questions about Bridgegate.
“He has an opportunity, when his term is up here, to go into the private sector and make a significant living. There is no reason to deny him that opportuntiy, and I’m not sure he would want to lose out,” he continued. “Maybe this is the chance for him to go make seven digits.”
Wisniewski shared that skepticism about Christie’s chances at Attorney General in the long shadow of the Bridgegate trial. Though the governor was never indicted and the U.S. Attorney’s office found no evidence of wrongdoing, three former appointees from his administration were found guilty on all charges last week.
“Any nomination like that has to get through the Senate, and has to survive a filibuster. And I do believe that there are a number of senators who would call into question his integrity in serving as Attorney General in light of his remarkable lack of curiosity about what was happening right in front of him as governor.”