Trump Stumps to Help Christie Pay His Debts

By Dustin Racioppi; Kim Lueddeke | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), May 20, 2016 | Go to article overview

Trump Stumps to Help Christie Pay His Debts


Dustin Racioppi; Kim Lueddeke, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


After flying into Lawrenceville for a $200-per-head rally with Governor Christie on Thursday night, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, bragged as he often does about drawing the "biggest crowds" to his campaign rallies.

The National Guard Armory holds at most 1,455 people, according to fire officials, and had roughly 1,000 people waiting and chanting for the nominee-in-waiting. The night before the rally, the Trump campaign said there were "only 100 tickets" left.

But the size of the crowd didn't seem to matter. Upon taking the stage, Trump declared the purpose of his visit -- to help pay Christie's roughly $400,000 left in debt for his own unsuccessful presidential run -- a victory.

"Chris paid off his entire campaign debt tonight. His entire debt," Trump said. "And Chris, you can't even give them a table and a seat, that's terrible. But he's a great guy and he's a great governor."

It was six months ago that Trump, still competing with Christie for the nomination, was on a stage in South Carolina telling a crowd that Christie "totally knew about" the plot to shut down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

On Thursday night, Trump took on the role of benefactor, not only raising money for Christie's campaign but also headlining a private fundraiser at $25,000 a ticket for the Republican State Committee. The committee had about $155,000 in cash on March 31 and $525,000 in debts, including $31,000 owed to the law firm Patton Boggs and $274,000 owed to the forensic research firm Stroz Friedberg -- legal bills related to the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

At the armory event, Trump read off a piece of paper listing some of Christie's achievements, such as contributing the most money into the public employee pension fund and bringing the unemployment insurance account into solvency. Trump then launched the familiar lines of his stump speech. He promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico, invigorating a crowd that frequently burst into chants of "build that wall!" He vowed to negotiate "the best" trade deals and "make America first."

He even offered Christie's wife, Mary Pat, a job in his administration should he win the White House -- taking phone calls from New Jerseyans fatigued by his self-proclaimed prowess on trade, the border and education.

"You're going to have Chris Christie calling -- maybe Mary Pat would even be better because I think maybe she'd be better. And you're going to say, Donald, the people of New Jersey cannot stand you winning so much for our country. Will you stop winning so much? It's driving them crazy," Trump said. "And I'm going to say, Mary Pat, I won't do that. …

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