It’s a tiny little world to Donald Trump, and a lot of it is New Jersey. Also? See Martin Kelley’s comment below – for yet another NJ connection.
You cannot make this shit up. Donald Trump’s campaign has hired Bill Stepien to run its national field operation. This is proof of just how New Jersey the Trump campaign is – and that’s not a good thing at all, considering the players:
- Donald Trump, who leached money out of Atlantic City before declaring bankruptcy and leaving Garden State small businesses unpaid
- Chris Christie, scandal-plagued and now cratering in the polls, running Trump’s transition and making the big-boy political decisions
- Bill Stepien now in a senior position, and
- Hired by Trump CEO Steve Bannon (no NJ connection I know) with Jared Kushner, the New Yorker who married Ivanka Trump and along with Trump’s other adult kids has an unusual controlling relationship with this presidential campaign. Kushner, who’s dad was investigated by Christie back in the day, also publishes PolitickerNJ (now Observer), which David Waldstein founded and wrote for under the anonymous name “Wally Edge,” who chronicled Christie’s rise without ever disclosing he was Christie’s lifelong friend, and who Christie appointed to a high-paying job at that political cesspool the Port Authority, where he engineered the Bridgegate scandal.
Stepien got his start in NJ Republican campaigns – Anthony Bucco and Bob Franks. Then he went to work for Michael DuHaime, the strategist behind Christie’s 2009 campaign and a close Christie insider who also had major roles at the RNC and the Bush-Cheney campaign, as did Stepien. He got Bill Baroni elected in 2003 (Baroni’s now charged in Bridgegate with Bridget Anne Kelly, trial coming next month). Stepien had Bridget Anne Kelly’s job before Kelly had it. (Kelly and Baroni are charged with 9 counts of conspiracy and fraud in the Bridgegate scandal, and Kelly was involved romantically with Stepien in the lead up to Bridgegate. He was picked with great fanfare by Christie to run the NJGOP, then that support was yanked just 48 hours later. The problem? Breaking news as it became public of how deep Stepien was involved in Bridgegate, brewed in Christie’s own inner office and by his closest confidantes and his minions at the Port Authority. Stepien is all over the emails that became evidence in the state and federal investigations.
And so it goes. And it’s nuts.