Yesterday Donald Trump announced the choice of his running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, at an event that was as bizarre as it was vintage Trump. The Donald gave a speech in which he barely mentioned Pence, but instead rambled about his victories in the primaries, his hotels and his business acumen. It was obvious that he had been given a sheet of paper with bullet points about Pence and instructions to mention them all, but every time he looked at the sheet he only said ’back to Mike Pence,’ to subsequently derail into the parallel universe created by his pathological narcissism, where he is a perfect human being and everything he says and does is brilliant respectively magnificent. By all outward signs Pence was not Trump’s first choice but forced on him by his oldest children and Paul Manafort, because Pence is an anti-abortion, anti-gay evangelical lunatic who appeals to a segment of the GOP electorate that supported Ted Cruz in the primaries and hasn’t warmed up to the Donald yet. Trump’s heart was in New Jersey, where his favorite, Chris Christie, languishes as Governor, but the kids took away the car keys.
In the meantime Christie was probably at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey Governor’s mansion, wondering what had gone wrong. He had been the first of the primary candidates to endorse Trump, risking the wrath of the Republican establishment, and stood by his candidate ever since, willing to do any job the Donald asked him to do, from chairing the transition team to carrying Trump’s golf clubs. He had really wanted to be the VP candidate and made that clear to his new master on multiple occasions. Christie, who is only slightly less delusional than Trump, didn’t realize that his abysmal record as Governor and the legal problems that await him in the short run make him even unelectable as dog catcher. Less than thirty percent of New Jersey voters want him to return as the state’s chief administrator, and two of his former closest associates are about to go on trial for the Bridgegate scandal, where a third former associate will spill the beans and assert that Christie knew everything about the closing of the world’s busiest bridge, which was ordered out of spite because the mayor of a small town had failed to endorse him.
Rumor has it that Christie is livid about not being chosen as VP candidate, but he should consider himself lucky that his mentor, the former New Jersey Attorney General and Chairman of the Port Authority David Samson, just pleaded guilty to a felony and won’t go to trial. Samson used to siphon Port Authority money to construction projects in New Jersey in which clients of his law firm were involved, after Christie had strongarmed the local politicians.
Strategically Pence may have been the right pick for Trump, because the ticket now appeals to the low-educated, gun toting racists who like Trump and the intolerant zealots that Pence attracts, but there may be very little chemistry between Trump and Pence, and that will affect especially Trump’s performance. After all, at heart he is a vulgar buffoon who cannot fall back on Christ.
Christie in the meantime should not remain livid too long. He can still position himself to become Trump’s Chief of Staff, and if he succeeds he would have more influence than Pence. And if Trump and Pence lose the election he doesn’t have anything, but neither does Pence.