He might have been flown over to Israel by Sheldon Adelson on his private jet, but it was the King of Jordan who picked up the $30, 000 tab for New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s hotel room and other expenses, as reported by Asbury Park Press. Described by NJ.com as the “Jersey to Jerusalem” trade mission in 2012, the emphasis was placed on the Israeli destinations, while it was noted in passing that he would “spend time with King Abdullah.” The monarch’s covering the $30, 000 bill the Christie family incurred at Jordan Kempinski Hotel was probably not what the Republican Jewish coalition had in mind when they co-sponsored the trip, but as Christie told a reporter from the New York Times regarding his travels, “I relish these experiences and exposures, especially for the kids. I try to squeeze all the juice out of the orange that I can.” It looks like he was squeezing juice out of two oranges: Sheldon Adelson and King Abdullah (although, as Willy Loman observed in Death of a Salesman, “A man is not a piece of fruit.”)
Not only may King Abdullah presumably think he’s owed a favor by the presidential hopeful from New Jersey over the hefty hotel bill, but it was through the Jordanian King that Christie met Bono, the lead singer of U2, who later served on the board of the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund.
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Christie’s having a $30, 000 hotel bill covered by King Abdullah doesn’t sit well with Christie’s “working class” image he is trying to cultivate in his Presidential bid. It seems now that, in any case, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are leading the pack of Republican contenders, with Christie trailing behind.
Christie’s chief of staff, Maria Comella explained that King Abdullah has been a friend of the governor’s since 2010, when Michael Bloomberg first introduced them.
Eli Horn Adds:
Letting the king pay for the three-day weekend in Jordan would not have been allowed if Christie was president or a senator, as it is illegal for federal employees to accept gifts of more than nominal value from agents of foreign governments, the Times said.
An executive order Mr. Christie signed in 2010 allows New Jersey governors to have travel and related expenses paid by foreign governments. It does not specifically address gifts such as the parties the king held for him, but the governor’s staff said it was covered under a provision that allowed gifts from personal friends, according to the Times.