Yesterday, my colleague Nicole Narea wrote that a Trump presidency was Chris Christie’s “last lifeline.” As more revelations come out during the “Bridgegate” trial of two top Christie aides, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the New Jersey governor did know about the plan to punish a mayor by shutting down traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. But Trump is sticking by his man(-servant).
He told The New York Times on Monday:
“I have known and liked Chris for 15 years,” Mr. Trump said. “After his recent run for president, he called me to say that he would like to endorse me in that he sees a movement like he has never seen before. I was greatly honored, accepted his endorsement, and he has been a spectacular advocate ever since.”
Notice there was no mention of the George Washington Bridge or the trial. All that Trump cares about is the fact that Christie endorsed him.
Christie may be a special case: He took down Marco Rubio during the primaries and was a very early endorser. But this sends a very troubling message, should Trump get elected president. By sticking with Christie, for no other reason than that he has been loyal, Trump is saying that loyalty is the only thing that he prizes in surrogates, aides, and potential future cabinet members. Trump is effectively offering a get-out-of-jail-free card to loyalists—in Christie’s case, it’s practically a literal one.