Reports: Trump Camp Hires Ex-Christie Aide Caught Up In Bridgegate

Donald Trump has hired a former top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) who’d been caught up in the so-called Bridgegate scandal to serve as his campaign’s national field director, according to multiple reports.

GOP operative Bill Stepien is expected to help Trump coordinate voter turnout in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election, NBC News reported.

Stepien twice served as campaign manager for the New Jersey governor, who is currently advising Trump’s campaign. He also served as deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental affairs during Christie’s first term.

Though Christie is serving as the chief of Trump’s transition team, the New York Times reported that the governor was not involved in the hiring decision and is no longer close with Stepien. According to the Times, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was behind the push to bring Stepien onboard.

The Republican operative fell from grace in January 2014, when Christie asked him to withdraw his name for consideration for chairman of the New Jersey GOP amid the fallout from what prosecutors now say was a politically-motivated plot to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge. In September 2013, a senior Christie aide had allegedly coordinated with senior Christie appointees at the Port Authority to orchestrate a massive traffic jam near Fort Lee, New Jersey in order to punish the town’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid.

Emails providing evidence of the scheme were made public during investigations into the incident. Christie said in the January news conference that he had “lost confidence in Bill’s judgement” because those emails showed Stepien referring to Fort Lee’s mayor as “an idiot.”

Stepien’s consulting contract with the Republican Governors Association, which Christie ran at the time, was also terminated.

Stepien was never charged with any wrongdoing in the lane closure scheme.

This month, transcripts of a text message exchange between two Christie staffers were made public in which one former staffer alleged the New Jersey governor “flat out lied about senior staff and Stepien not being involved.” Christie disputed that claim.

This post has been updated.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: