Column: Chris Christie and the emperor’s new clothes

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie answers a question after announcing Superior Court Judge David Bauman as his nomination to the New Jersey Supreme Court Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Trenton, N.J. Christie nominated Bauman in 2012, but he was not given a confirmation hearing. The appointment comes after Christie earlier clashed with Democrats over court nominations. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination on June 30, he promised change. He launched a platform of contrived sincerity, refusing to be a candidate who “looks in your eyes every day and tries to figure out what you want to hear, say it and then turning around and doing something else.” Some months later, on Feb. 26, Gov. Christie threw his support behind Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee. 

Trump, an amoebic candidate, represents exactly the sort of insincerity Christie supposedly wished to eliminate from Washington D.C. Why the about-face? Christie attempted to qualify his support by saying that Trump would “lead the Republican party to victory in November over Hillary Clinton,” which he argued was the “single most important” aspect of this race.

Christie is throwing his support behind a farcical candidate, whose conservatism is non-existent, if only to stop Clinton from becoming president. Supporting Trump so as to stop Clinton from securing the presidency is despicable. 

Admittedly, Clinton has foibles, flaws and a seriously questionable past. However, in a race between a shady real estate developer and a former Senator and Secretary of State, the legitimate political decision is not difficult to deduce. Christie’s attempt to depict his support for Trump as a way of throwing a cog in the Clinton machine however, seems to be a purposefully obfuscating tactic, hiding his true intentions behind a translucent veil. 

Gov. Christie threw his support behind Donald Trump for one reason—to become either his running mate, or secure a position as Attorney General, if the apocalypse is brought to America and Trump rallies enough votes to waltz into the Oval Office. In positioning himself as the first legitimate candidate to support Trump, Christie is hoping to reap the table scraps of the spoils system and gain a position of power in a potential Trump administration. 

Gov. Christie has proven himself to be a typical politician, filling the role he promised to avoid during his campaign announcement. For politicians, campaign season is the slow release of idyllic hot-air, aimed at satiating and exciting the populace’s appetite. Unfortunately, Republican voters are particularly set on fighting the establishment, paving the way for Trump’s unlikely rise to the political aether. 

Until now, Trump has lacked the support of a legitimate candidate, a point which has acted as a knee-high sea wall resisting a mile-high tsunami of bigotry and anger, euphemistically labelled “grass-roots” unity. Though Christie will reap substantial benefits from his decision to sell his soul and abandon New Jersey, Trump gains a modicum of political legitimacy in the eyes of those not yet fully committed to quaffing the “Make America Great Again” Kool-Aid. 

According to a Politico report, prominent New Hampshire union leader, Joe McQuaid received word from Gov. Christie recently, assuring him that he would “never” support Trump. Christie reneged on this promise with astonishing speed, with an eye on his plummeting approval rating in New Jersey. Christie is leveraging his semblance of legitimacy in a wager with Trump, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. 

Christie is standing upon a platform of contrived sincerity and change, baited by the prospect of a gleeful ascent from his sinking New Jersey throne, into the glorious warm embrace of the District. All he had to sacrifice to gain the key to a potential spot at the Trump table was his dignity. Luckily for him, he had little to begin with. 

He now supports a man who believes the US has become a “dumping ground” for the world’s problems, pessimistically straying from Emma Lazarus’ “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore” of America’s halcyon days; those same days Trump seems to refer to, when we used to “win” more.

The Christie endorsement adds another ounce of legitimacy to a campaign that America cannot afford to see victorious; a campaign which thrives off of isolationism, racism, fear, anguish and polarization. Christie has done a disservice to himself, his party and his nation. 

Instead of pulling voters out of ignorance and showing them the falsehood in the glib filth flowing from the poorly coiffed maniac, he has lionized and legitimized a reality-show campaign, declaring the emperor’s new clothes a perfect fit.


Christopher Sacco is opinion editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.sacco@uconn.edu.