NYT: Chris Christie Enjoys it When People Buy Him Fancy Things
Chris Christie has been in London the last few days on a trade mission. Let’s get to the most important part of this story first: His London trip did not stop him from commenting on the video 94 WIP released at Wing Bowl of him falling off a chair.
"Well I am never talking about Philly fans again," Chris Christie just said as he strolled street in London after soccer match.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) February 1, 2015
The trip was viewed by some as a disaster, as he made controversial comments on vaccines. The trip could cost Jersey taxpayers $40,000, per the Asbury Park Press. Most costs were defrayed by Choose New Jersey, a trade org that encourages investment in the state, but taxpayers still have to pick up the travel bill for Christie’s security detail. In London, Christie and his team stayed at the expensive Corinthia Hotel.
And, according to a long piece on Christie in the New York Times today, he has long enjoyed the finer things in life — when someone else picks up the tab.
The story centers on a lavish trip Christie took to Israel in 2012. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who at the time was lobbying against an online gambling bill in New Jersey, let Christie use his private plane. Christie went with his wife, three of his four kids, his father and stepmother, among others. King Abdullah of Jordan paid for the trip, including Kempinski hotel rooms that cost around $30,000, according to the Times.
And the trade trip to London this week? The NYT says Choose New Jersey is sponsoring it despite sounding “dubious in a report last year about enticing business from Britain.” (The report said other countries, including Israel, were better bets for enticing investment.) Christie did plan to meet with industry reps and tour a research company that does business in Princeton.
The Christie administration handled this situation similarly to how it handled Jerry Jones paying for Christie’s trip to a Cowboys game. A spokeswoman told the Times King Abdullah was “a friend”; the pair met at a salon-style dinner thrown by then-New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. She also said Adelson was not lobbying the governor personally in 2012; Christie eventually did sign the online gambling bill.
Christie enjoys these trips, obviously. “I relish these experiences and exposures, especially for my kids,” he told the Times last year. “I try to squeeze all the juice out of the orange that I can.” While Christie flew on private jets previously, he flew commercial to London.
Trips paid by outsiders are not rare for politicians, but the Times argues Christie has gotten himself into “ethically questionable situations, taking benefits from those who stand to benefit from him.” Christie’s friend Jerry Jones saw his firm get a contract at the new One World Trade Center, which is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Hillary Clinton, another expected 2016 presidential contender, is under similar scrutiny for her use of private jets.
The best detail in the Times story, however, was this: Last year, Christie attended Howard Stern’s 60th birthday bash in Manhattan. Perhaps those “sit down and shut up” comments Christie has made to protesters are just a more refined version of saying “Baba Booey.”