SOMERSET, N.J. – Real estate developer Donald Trump told a group of New Jersey Republicans he expects New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to make it through the scandals that are plaguing his administration.
“He’s doing fine and it’s going to be fine,” Trump told the Somerset County Republican Organization, where he received the group’s “Republican of the Year” award Wednesday night.
“We all go through these patches,” said Trump. “I wish him well.”
Trump said he has considered Christie a friend for many years. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, owns a publishing company that runs a website devoted to New Jersey politics.
The 67-year-old Trump told The Associated Press he’s seen no evidence that Republican donors are shying away from the governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate.
He says Christie’s ability to run for president has not been compromised, if he decides he wants to run.
Trump, who flirted with running for president in 2012, told AP he would decide within a few weeks whether to enter the race for governor of New York.
On Wednesday, he was honoured for his investment in New Jersey; Trump National Country Club is located in Somerset County.
Former New Jersey Attorney General and Christie confidante Jeff Chiesa also was honoured by the group.
Referencing Christie’s budget address on Tuesday and town hall meeting on Wednesday, Chiesa said Christie is continuing to govern despite twin scandals that have mired the start of his second term and threaten to upend any political ambitions.
“He has been the target of incessant and unsubstantiated innuendo for six weeks now, and guess what,” said Chiesa, “he is continuing to lead the state with incredible integrity.”
Federal authorities and state lawmakers are looking into an apparent political payback operation orchestrated Christie’s aides; federal prosecutors are also investigating accusations that two members of Christie’s cabinet threatened to withhold federal Superstorm Sandy recovery aid from hard-hit Hoboken unless the mayor supported a favoured redevelopment project.
The administration has denied the charges.
Chiesa, who was named by Christie to a temporary seat in the U.S. Senate last year, is a partner in Wolff & Samson, the law firm that represented the redeveloper in Hoboken. David Samson, the founding partner of the law firm, is chairman of the agency that runs the George Washington Bridge, where traffic jams were created in an apparent act of political retribution.