Christie’s 2016 had only one highlight: his vicious clowning of Marco Rubio in a New Hampshire debate, which was so devastating it pretty much single-handedly ended Rubio’s presidential ambitions. But the rest of the year was an unending series of humiliations: Donald Trump made fun of him for being fat; Donald Trump made him get McDonald’s for him; Donald Trump made him stand silently behind him like a hostage; he became America’s least popular governor; Bridgegate threatened to take down his administration; Donald Trump made fun of him for being fat some more. In the summer of 2016 it looked as if Trump could run a two-jerk ticket with Christie as his VP. But Mike Pence got the call. Then, at the end of the year, Christie was booted off Trump’s transition team and replaced by Pence. It looked as if Christie would spend the next year exiled in New Jersey.
But the chaos that has defined Trump’s first 90 days in office has strengthened Christie’s hand. As Steve Bannon’s star has fallen and Jared Kushner’s has risen, so has Christie’s—which is ironic given that Christie put Kushner’s dad in jail, leading some to speculate that Kushner, the world’s most boring vengeful person, was orchestrating Christie’s humiliation as payback. But Christie and Kushner have been hanging out and, as speculation mounts that the Trump administration needs a hard-nosed person who can hold his own while delivering bad news to the president, Christie may get another shot. This was also predicted three months ago:
With that in mind, a Christie ally said the New Jersey governor, who visited Trump Tower last week, has maintained a relationship with Trump even after his dismissal and that the two have spoken “a bunch” over the past several weeks.
“I think he’s one who feels that there will be a good amount of turnover, and so Trump will be looking for a range of different people and talents as time goes on,” said one New Jersey GOP insider.
That may explain why Christie is feeling rambunctious again. Christie has been back to his old self in New Jersey, yelling at journalists, eviscerating United Airlines, and targeting the state’s biggest health insurance provider. “I guess you can see a bounce to his step,” Vincent Prieto, the Assembly Speaker, a Democrat, told Politico. “I guess this is his last year—he’s trying to still make a difference and try to make the most of it.”
That Christie is being considered for anything, given his past scandals and crushing unpopularity, is astounding. More than anything, it suggests the Trump White House is still not a particularly appealing place to work.