While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared to be distancing himself from Republican candidate Donald Trump, his former chief of staff Rich Bagger continues running the campaign's presidential transition.
"Bagger is at the center of a group of increasingly beleaguered aides trying to plan a sober transition for one of the least predictable presidential candidates in recent memory," according to The Washington Post.
Transition officials prepare for the possibility that a candidate will win the presidency, regardless of whether it happens. The team has specific goals and attends regular meetings.
"He's setting the tone, telling people to keep their heads down," an ally of Bagger said.
Christie has said Trump is ultimately responsible for his own campaign, not Christie.
"It's the candidate's campaign. It's not my campaign. I'm proud of everything I've said and that's all I can control," the governor said during an during an NBC News interview.
Bagger is a pharmaceutical executive who is on leave while he works with Trump. The lifelong Republican was elected mayor of Westfield, NJ, when he was 29, and was a New Jersey state assembly member for five terms. He was appointed by Christie to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2012, and was listed as a prosecution witness in the trial over Christie's "Bridge-gate" scandal.
Sources told the Post that Bagger has a calm approach during the volatile time in Trump's campaign. In 2009, former Westfield mayor Tom Jardim praised Bagger for that demeanor.
"He is one of those guys who prides himself in the issues where everyone else's eyes glaze over," he said,
Trump's transition team and the transition team belonging to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton are not in opposition and appear to be working closely, according to another Washington Post report.
A meeting that included the two groups was "friendly and totally divorced from the firestorm happening on the campaign trail," according to people who attended.
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