Multiple reports reveal that Bill Stepien, former state campaign manager for Governor Chris Christie, will be Trump’s new national field director—a role that seems very odd to be hiring for in late August, but is suddenly necessary given Trump’s much-remarked lack of an effective field organization. The decision to hire Stepien was reportedly made by Steve Bannon, plus Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
The problem: Stepien had to leave Christie’s circle in disgrace, as a result of the Bridgegate scandal involving a politically engineered traffic nightmare near the town of Fort Lee. While the subsequent investigation did not directly implicate Stepien, it did show that he was in communication with principal actor David Wildstein during the initial fallout, and that he referred to the mayor of Fort Lee as an “idiot.”
In response, Christie said he had been “disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference that was displayed in the emails by my former campaign manager, Bill Stepien.”
While campaigning last year, Trump openly accused Christie himself of having been involved in some aspect of the Bridgegate scandal. “He knew about it,” Trump told a rally crowd in South Carolina. “He totally knew about it.” Since then, Christie has become one of Trump’s top sidekicks, and now his “former campaign manager” is joining the team.