When Chris Christie finished out his second consecutive term in January, it’s likely few were sad to see the oft-maligned New Jersey governor go. Christie’s second term, in particular, was riddled with controversy, from the Washington Bridge Fort Lee lane closure scandal, what eventually became known as “Bridgegate” — to being caught lounging on the beach last summer with his family at a state-owned beach house after issuing a government shutdown that closed state beaches to the public, what eventually became known as “Beachgate.”
By June of 2017, Christie’s approval rating was down to just 15 percent, the lowest for any New Jersey governor in recorded history.
So it seems only natural that Christie’s final act as governor would be to stick it to the people of New Jersey one last time. According to NorthJersey.com, Christie’s official portrait will cost taxpayers $85,000 — more than the cost of paintings for his three predecessors combined. Australian artist Paul Newton has been commissioned for the painting, whose portfolio apparently includes “royalty and an international pop star.”
Since he took office, Christie has spoken about the official picture that likely will long outlive him and the many internet memes he’s touched off. And in his public life, Christie had earned a reputation for having a taste for luxury when others paid the bill.
As U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Christie was one of five federal prosecutors that the Department of Justice said in a report “exhibited noteworthy patterns of improperly exceeding the government rate” for hotels, such as a $475-a-night stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C.
On the plus side, it seems highly unlikely that Christie will ever be voted into public office again, so this is probably the last time taxpayers will have to foot his bill.