Donald Trump pulled off an election upset but isn’t using victory as an excuse to take a breather. He quickly met with President Obama at the White House to begin the two-month process of switching administrations. Several prominent Democrats have offered up their cooperation in working with Trump if he also cooperates, but right now, the focus is on the Republican team that will fill Trump’s staff and cabinet.
Previously, Chris Christie was recruited to head up the transition team, but his reputation recently took a substantial hit after two top Christie top aides were convicted for Bridgegate. Very public calls for impeachment now plague the New Jersey governor, who shall move into the transition team background as vice chair. In his place, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence will step forward to chair the team. Officially, the New York Times reports that Trump “wanted to tap Mr. Pence’s Washington experience and contacts” to ease the nature of his surprise win. That’s the official Trump-team rationale, although Christie’s scandal-plagued reputation looms large:
Mr. Christie had been in charge of the transition for the last several months, but the surprise nature of Mr. Trump’s victory made it critical to move more quickly to assemble a team. Mr. Christie’s standing has been in question in recent weeks as two of his former aides were convicted in the scandal involving the political motivation behind closure of the George Washington Bridge at Fort Lee, N.J., in 2013.
Mr. Christie, along with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, and Michael T. Flynn, a retired lieutenant general who has been a top campaign supporter, will serve as vice chairs of the transition, the sources said.
As noted here, Rudy Giuliani and Gen. Michael Flynn will also serve as vice chairs, so it sounds like there’s plenty of insulation here as far as Christie’s reputation goes. Following his Washington D.C. tour on Thursday, Trump was reported to be “firmly ensconced” in his Trump Tower headquarters, which has been “transformed into a kind of fortress” by both the NYPD and the Secret Service. There are now concrete barriers everywhere, and pedestrians aren’t allowed to walk on the sidewalk around the tower. One wonders how often Trump will come back to NYC while he serves in office. For now, Pence is in charge of the D.C. logistics, which sounds about right if John Kasich’s claim about a Trump VP being the “most powerful VP in history” are true.