The Donald Trump-Mitt Romney bromance began with an insult, courtesy of Trump:
“He’d buy companies, he’d close companies. He’d get rid of jobs. I’ve built a great company. I’m a much bigger businessman and have a much, much bigger net worth. I mean, my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney.”
Then Trump had a change of heart: “Mitt is tough. He’s smart. He’s sharp. He’s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love. So, Governor Romney, go out and get ’em. You can do it.”
And Romney swooned with delight: “I’m so honored to have his endorsement. There are some things that you just can’t imagine in your life. This is one of them.”
Mitt Romney and Donald Trump
But now the bromance is over, courtesy of a rousing, anti-Trump speech given by Romney at the University of Utah:
“Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters.
“He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.”
So how is Trump taking all this? “I don’t know what happened to him. You can see how loyal he is.
“He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would have dropped to his knees.”
Fortunately for Trump, as his bromance with Romney has ended, another has emerged–with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
On February 26, Christie through his (political) weight behind Trump at a hastily-announced press conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
Christie had not always been on such wonderful terms with the egocentric businessman. In fact, for months, the two had been rivals for the Presidency.
In a January speech before the New Hampshire primary, Christie said:
“Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America….
“If we are going to turn our frustration and anger with the D.C. insiders, the politicians of yesterday and the carnival barkers of today into something that will actually change American lives for the better, we must elect someone who has been tested.”
Then, without warning, Christie announced a sudden change of mind at a press conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
The previous night, Trump had been mauled by a surprisingly aggressive Marco Rubio during a CNN-hosted debate among the Presidential candidates. As a result, reporters gasped when Christie endorsed Trump and attacked Rubio:
“Part of his talking points now is to be entertaining and smile a lot now. Listen, it’s one act after another.”
Christie obviously felt it necessary to explain why he had gone from attacking Trump to promoting him:
“As a Republican I feel strongly about making sure that [Democratic front-runner] Hillary Clinton does not become president of the United states, and I believe Donald Trump is the best person–of those remaining–to do that.”
As for the attack made on Trump by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney:
“I understand the things that Gov. Romney is saying, and he’s objected to. That’s his opinion, and I respect him as I always have, and he’s welcome to his view. I just happen to disagree with the conclusion that he comes to.”
By endorsing Trump, Christie became the first major establishment figure to validate the fitness of the former “reality TV star” to serve as President.
Considering Trump’s remaining opponents, it was not hard for Christie to reach that conclusion.
Texas United States Senator Rafael Cruz is an ideologue–and totally opposed to the pragmatic approach Christie brings to politics. And Christie genuinely dislikes Rubio.
In addition, Christie believed that Ohio Governor John Kasich–a moderate by Republican standards–could never secure his party’s Presidential nomination.
Ditto for neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who apparently believed his Right-wing party would elect another black man to succeed President Obama.
As for Trump: “This was an endorsement that really meant a lot. Chris is an outstanding man with an outstanding family, and this is the one endorsement that I’m really happy to get.”
While Christie and Trump share an innate aggressiveness and willingness to bully, that is not all they share.
In Never Enough, auhor Michael D’Antonio portrays Trump as a man with an insatiable appetite for wealth, attention, power, and conquest. The same can be said of Christie.
By taking on the role of Trump’s attack dog, Christie positions himself for the same role as vice presidential nominee. Or for a position such as Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security.
For those wishing to understand the realities of American political leaders, the best insight comes in a song popularized in George Orwell’s novel, 1984:
Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree.