Jared Kushner throws Chris Christie a bone: New Jersey governor looks to get back in Trump's good graces with opioid task force

The unpopular governor is the head of a new White House task force — but don't call it a comeback

By Matthew Sheffield
April 18, 2017 2:44AM (UTC)
main article image
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Once touted as the future of the Republican Party, Chris Christie is hoping to make the most of the final days of his term as governor of New Jersey by going after his old foes in state politics and trying to mend his relationship with the Trump Administration, having failed to secure a cabinet position or the vice presidency.

After avoiding the New Jersey press for nearly 150 days, Christie has begun holding news conferences. He's also been mixing it up with national reporters as the head of a new White House task force meant to address opioid painkiller addiction in the U.S. The new part-time gig for Christie is a bit awkward, however, since the program falls under the authority of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law.


In the early 2000s, when he was a federal prosecutor, Christie oversaw the successful prosecution of Kushner's father, Charles, for tax evasion and witness tampering. According to several reports, Jared Kushner exacted revenge on Christie for the prosecution by getting the governor removed as the director of Trump's presidential transition team. In the intervening months, however, the two appear to have patched things up.

In the intervening months, however, the two appear to have patched things up.

Getting back in the good graces of the Trump team is going to be critical for Christie's post-governorship plans since, in light of his virtual abandonment of New Jersey during his 2016 presidential bid and the conviction of two of his staffers in the so-called Bridgegate controversy, he is now the most unpopular state chief executive according to a new poll. With over 70 percent of New Jerseyans disapproving of the job he's doing, Christie essentially has no future in state politics as of now.


In an interview with the Associated Press, Christie said he had “no interest in having a permanent role” in the Trump administration but was making an exception for the temporary position. He said he is instead focused on trying to cash in after leaving the New Jersey governor's mansion, in a recent interview with The New York Times.

“I want to have fun, and I want to make money. If I’m not going to be in public service, then I want to make money," he said.

Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

MORE FROM Matthew Sheffield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Chris Christie Jared Kushner New Jersey President Donald Trump White House White House Task Force