Republican hopefuls heading to UK to boost credentials
New Jersey taxpayers anxious to see how much of their governor’s trip they’re funding
Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, at a match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London, on Sunday. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Sunday began a three-day trade mission to the UK. The trip is meant to bolster his state’s economic and cultural ties with the UK, although it has the added benefit of burnishing his foreign policy credentials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Christie is one of more than a dozen figures exploring whether to make a bid for the Republican nomination.
His office has said the UK trip is not a political move, but those directly effected by New Jersey’s economy – the taxpayers – are anxious to see how much of it they are funding.
In 2012, Christie went on a four-day trip to the Middle East, and taxpayers had to cover $39,871 (about €35,000), according to the nonprofit news site New Jersey Watchdog.
In the UK, he will meet business leaders, dignitaries and government officials. He is not scheduled for a reciprocal meeting with Prince Harry, who met the governor in New Jersey in May to tour the areas recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
Potential candidates make trips abroad to show they are fit to lead the US in the world. Ahead of the 2008 presidential election, then Illinois senator Barack Obama travelled to the Middle East and Europe.
Such trips can be risky. Mitt Romney made several missteps in a trip to London ahead of the 2012 presidential election, including criticising how Britain had prepared for the Olympics and confirming he had met the head of MI6, whose activities are normally secret. On Friday, Mr Romney said he had decided not to run for president in 2016.
– (Guardian Service)