New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expressing interest in the job of Republican National Committee chairman.
Christie told senior members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team on Thursday morning that he is interested in the post, according to three sources familiar with the talks. One person said the governor had embarked on an aggressive, “full-court press” in hopes of getting the chairmanship.
The governor has been a longtime supporter of Trump, but has had a rocky relationship with his transition team as of late. Christie had been overseeing the transition but was booted from the post last month in favor of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Some Trump aides believe Christie did a poor job overseeing the process; others said he clashed with Jared Kushner, Trump’s influential son-in-law.
Christie’s prospects for a job in the Trump administration have dimmed in recent weeks. Yet he has downplayed interest in a position, saying that he intends to serve out the remainder of his term as governor, which expires in January 2018.
The governor huddled with the president-elect last month in New Jersey, where they discussed several possible still-vacant cabinet posts, including secretary of homeland security, according to one person briefed on the meeting. Christie, however, has told his aides he isn’t interested in the position.
Spokespeople for Trump and Christie didn’t respond to requests for comment. Some Christie aides, however, believe that Christie, who formerly chaired the Republican Governors Association and has relationships with many of the party’s donors, would make a natural fit for the RNC.
Set aside for the moment that Christie’s legal troubles and declining popularity in his own state have made him a bit of a liability. The RNC gig might be a good one for Christie and it will help Trump reward one of his most loyal supporters from the GOP establishment.
Christie is an extremely loyal, if moderate, Republican. He’s also a political scrapper, unafraid to call out nonsense from the other side in a way that resonates with the people on his side. One of the problems I had with Priebus was that every attack he launched against the Democrats seemed like it was written by a spokesperson and run by a couple of focus groups. Christie will definitely bring a more genuine “oomph” to the political octagon.
His loyalty to Trump does need some sort of public acknowledgment. When Christie endorsed Trump it was seen by many party insiders as political suicide. There wasn’t much support from anywhere in the political class for Trump’s candidacy at the time, even though he’d been racking up primary wins with ease. It was a bold move probably made in the hope that he’d get the VP nod, but he’s remained loyal ever since he found out that wasn’t happening.
This could be a win/win for Team Trump, unless there is more legal trouble looming for Governor Christie that we don’t know about.