New Jersey governor and presidential thirst-haver Chris Christie is a Man of the People, an image he eagerly reinforces by relentlessly roaming the New Jersey boardwalks, yelling Bruce Springsteen lyrics and occasionally picking fights with his constituents. But a New York Times story today reveals Christie has also quietly developed quite a taste for luxury on other people's dime.
The Times reports that Christie is engaged in the time-honored tradition of taking not-quite-kickbacks, allowing people like billionaire Republican donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to lend him his private plane for the weekend — at the same time that Adelson was busily trying to kill a bill that would've allowed online gambling in Jersey. (Adelson said in 2013 he'd spend "whatever it takes" to kill online gambling, and, evidently, lend his toys to whomever. The bill did eventually pass, with some restrictions.)
Christie also allowed King Abdullah of Jordan to pay for a "family weekend" that cost some $30,000 in hotel rooms alone, and involved a party with Bono. (A spokeswoman for Christie defended that one to the NYT by saying that Christie and King Abdullah are just good buddies.) And now Christie faces an ethics inquiry for allowing Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to fly him to a game. Jones is a co-owner in a company that won a valuable 2013 Port Authority contract, a deal that Christie is alleged to have personally pushed forward. And a group called Choose N.J. that tries to entice foreign businesses to New Jersey has also paid for Christie to fly to Mexico, Canada, and London, trips he needs to burnish his foreign policy cred to run for president.
Christie isn't alone in letting other people pick up the tab when it's convenient: Hillary Clinton, as the Times points out, is happy to let other people's money fly her around. But this is cleansing fire of presidential primaries, when all the sleaziness that's kept these people in state-level offices or Congress is forced to the surface. It's going to be a veritable greatest hits of shady shit: Ted Cruz taking a cozy vacation with a Mexican media mogul, Jeb Bush being both a dick in high school and a greedy Wall Street barnacle afterwards. Bring it all on. This is going to be fun.
Chris Christie leaving 10 Downing Street after meeting Prime Minister David Cameron Monday. Christie's trip to London was paid for by a private group. Image via AP