Sources familiar with the matter claim there is an odd reason the New Jersey governor Chris Christie was stripped of his leadership of the transition team. During Donald Trump’s victory speech, an incident made Christie fall from grace. Reportedly, the president-elect shared the stage with more than 40 aides on that night. Christie, however, exaggerated in his attempts to “get in the shots,” sources say, and that irked Trump.
Nevertheless, pundits suggest this is not the only reason Mike Pence took the position of transition chair from the governor on Nov.11. What’s more, the demotion has little to do with the repeated clashes between Christie and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Christie’s Sloppy Handling of Transition
Trump’s team believes Christie may mishandle the transition process as he failed to solve the “Bridgegate” scandal. The scandal has led to the conviction of two of his aides on conspiracy charges. Several witnesses said in the trial the governor knew about the scheme even though he denied any involvement. So, when the court announced the verdict on Nov. 4, someone canceled two of Christie’s campaign appearances for Trump.
One source also said Christie failed to meet levels of “satisfaction and professionalism” during his work with the transition team. Two other sources confirmed the hypothesis.
However, Christie’s aides claim the transition’s bumpy start has nothing to do with him. According to a Christie ally, neither Trump nor his team expected to win the election. So, the surprise victory took them by surprise.
A separate source said that there was no turbulent start under Christie. That source noted the team acted very professionally under Christie, but couldn’t tell whether “Trump was frustrated or not.”
The source added that the transition did “tons of good work” before Election Day. At the time, Trump aides had picked hundreds of people for cabinet positions and landing teams. Also, Trump’s team had drafted dozens of “implementation plans” for a wide variety of policies ahead of the election.
Pence’s Takeover ‘Entirely Natural’
The Christie source added that Pence’s nomination was “natural.” He explained that it isn’t unusual for a president-elect to grant the VP a major role in his team. Also, it is “natural” for campaign team members to land in key transition positions.
Another Christie ally confirmed that Pence’s takeover was “entirely natural.” And there is even a precedent for it. In 2000, Vice President Dick Cheney took an important spot on George Bush’s transition team from other aides after the election.
On the other hand, Trump staffers insist the incident is linked to mismanagement issues. Two junior staffers said Christie put too little effort in the transition work. In addition, he was not present on the campaign trail weeks before the election when the media were saying Trump was losing.
Reportedly, Trump’s staffers were so accustomed to the New Jersey governor’s nonattendance that they had a shock to see him show up in Trump Tower on Nov. 8. Also, Christie’s lack of implication with the transition kept many members of Trump’s team in the dark about where they were supposed to go after election night.
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