Chris Christie is positioning himself as a key influencer of Donald Trump, even taking time from his 30th wedding anniversary vacation in Florida to help the front-runner prepare for the last Republican debate in Miami, according to a new report.
"Christie is clearly making the transition from endorser to enabler and positioning himself to be a major player in the Trump camp." David M. Kennedy, a presidential historian told NJ.com
The New Jersey governor was initially mocked for endorsing Trump after backing out of his own White House bid, but he's proving to do more than show up as a recognizable name on the campaign trail.
Christie has been fending off questions about whether he visited Trump's Mar-A-Lago as a guest during his vacation in Florida, and his spokesman, Kevin Roberts, would not address questions about if he helped prepare Trump for the Florida debate, saying only that "the governor was on vacation with his family."
But Edward "Ted" Newton, who led the team vetting Christie four years ago as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, said that the reports that the governor helped Trump prepare for the debate shows the governor's growing influence on the front-runner's campaign.
"Leading the debate prep, as Christie has, or the VP candidate search, as Dick Cheney did, fosters a strong relationship and a great level of trust," Newton said. "It's natural for that person to see themselves becoming a potential running mate."
Initially Christie's Trump endorsement led to ridicule and scorn in some camps, including a series of Internet memes
and a skit on "Saturday Night Live" after he awkwardly stood behind Trump at a March 1 press conference.
But sources are now going through him to become involved in the Trump campaign as he comes closer to securing the GOP nomination, a source commented, giving Christie more impact on the campaign.
Christie has also arranged a conference call allowing Trump and New Jersey Republican leaders to speak about campaign help, reports the New York Post.
It is also reported that Christie confidante Bill Palatucci, who sits on the Republican National Committee’s Rules Committee, will protect Trump's interests at this summer's GOP convention in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, seizing New Jersey's 52 delegates in its upcoming winner-take-all primary would be a key boost in Trump's push to win the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure his nomination on the convention's first ballot.
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