SABOTAGE: Beastie Boy Christie & Featherbrained Fani | Steve Berman

I know many of my friends and fellow writers respect Chris Christie for his dogged determination to tell the world how bad Donald Trump is. Many also respect Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who indicted Donald Trump plus a posse of his closest chums on Georgia RICO charges to overthrow the 2020 election; she is singlehandedly responsible for the former guy’s mugshot. But between them—this is just you, me, and the lamppost talking here—they’ve taken sabotage and stupid to new, exciting levels.

And respect: I think Christie is being (mostly) genuine in his hatred for the man he first lost to in New Hampshire in 2016, then sat on command like a puppy in training 19 days later. In just ten months, Trump put Christie through more humiliation and abuse than Abu Ghraib guards did to their victims. I wouldn’t argue with anyone claiming vengeance is the Jersey guvnah’s primary motivation, versus some revelatory awakening that Trump is—gasp!—corrupt. He knew Trump was corrupt, for decades.

So, to sacrifice himself, Christie exited the race, slain by Darth Trump, to make room for another, like he was Obi Wan Kenobi, becoming a force ghost of political wind, yelling “run, Luke Nikki, run!” Except it’s not really in Christie’s nature to exit a race before he, you know, actually loses it. Not a single vote has been cast, and Christie was, at the time of his self-immolation, polling consistently ahead of Ron DeSantis in New Hampshire. It’s not like him to be so self-aware and introspective, never mind sacrificial.

Christie getting out of the way to let Nikki Haley run free would be admirable, and in fact, I’ve called for it myself. But an open mic caught Christie’s betrayal, as reported by The Hill:

“I mean look, she’s spent like $68 million so far, just on TV — spent $68 million so far — $59 million by DeSantis, and we spent $12 [million]. I mean, who’s punching above their weight and who’s getting a return on their investment, you know?” Christie was heard saying in the audio. “And she’s gonna get smoked. And you and I both know it. She’s not up to this.”

DeSantis’s moribund campaign choked with glee on their lattes at this, posting on X/Twitter “I agree with Christie that Nikki Haley is ‘going to get smoked.’” Here’s my take: If Christie is exiting to help Nikki, I think he spells help “s-a-b-o-t-a-g-e.

It’s perfectly logical that Christie wants to get out of the race, not to get out of Nikki’s way, but to get out of the way of Trump, to make it more likely the whole affair will be over quickly, with Trump doing victory laps by Super Tuesday, then losing in a gargantuan fail in November. Sure, a lot of people will vote for Trump, so it won’t be a true landslide, but he won’t win. Well, he probably won’t win. 

But this summer, if/when Trump gets the nomination, watch Christie show up like a paladin on horseback (what horse would carry him?) to be one of the leaders of the opposition.

Donald Trump, for his part, is not above (anything at all) dog whistling he has chosen Haley as his running mate, or at least he “knows” who it is, but can’t tell you. This only fuels the idle speculation from speculators and Steve Bannon to backhandedly float that possibility, which is already dwelling like a 26 year-old blogger in the basement of some people’s minds. It’s a good reason not to vote for Haley, if you’d rather have the Real Thing than the Costco version, but aren’t quite a true believer.

Getting out of the race to make room for Haley to knock off Trump, while saying she’s “not up to this” at the same time, is self-serving sabotage. Christie is very familiar with this particular strain of passive-aggressive politics. In 2012, just weeks before Mitt Romney lost to Barack Obama, Christie could be seen glad-handing and receiving a literal pat on the back from Obama on the tarmac in Atlantic City. Christie was so grateful to Obama and praised the president’s incredible leadership, while nary mentioning that his party, and Republican Mitt Romney, was locked in a close race.

Vengeance is also one of Christie’s specialties. Look at how he threw his chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelley, and the deputy director of the NY-NJ Port Authority, Paul Baroni, under the actual bus in 2014 over “Bridgegate.” Having written on this betrayal, I’ll quote myself:

In late 2013, two of three lanes of the George Washington Bridge were shut down for a “traffic study,” to punish Mark Sokolich, the mayor of Fort Lee, on the Jersey side, who failed to endorse Christie. Sokloch’s complaints, calls and texts to reopen the bridge were ignored as Christie and his staff reveled in their revenge.

In 2017, Christie was ridiculed all over the Internet for lounging on a beach—a closedbeach—during a state government shutdown over a July 4th weekend. Not that July 4th on the Jersey shore means anything to anyone, at least not to Christie. Again, me:

“That’s just the way it goes,” Mr. Christie said, according to the New York Times. “Run for governor, and you can have a residence.” He may as well flip his voters the bird.

Call it a theory, but Chris Christie is engaged in a ragged game of revenge and sabotage against Donald Trump, and Nikki Haley is just one more person he’s willing to throw under whatever Class 8 tractor-trailer is coming up the turnpike. At least he’s out of the race, but he’s given Trump a green light to smoke Nikki.

Now, on to the other, even more maddening, toe-breaking stub from someone who should know better. I texted a friend of mine who used to practice law, asking about Fani Willis, how could she be so stupid? “She’s a Democrat? Maybe that?” came back. It can’t be that simple, but perhaps it is.

The Fulton County DA, who famously knocked off the former DA Paul Howard, the guy who dirty danced so close with corruption, he’d have been ejected from the senior prom for public obscenity, is stupid. (In an aside, Howard, just last month, managed to slide on his federal charges, acquitted by a jury of his peers.)

If you haven’t heard, Willis was accused by defendant in the Trump RICO case Michael Roman, whose lawyers filed a motion to dismiss and disqualify Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade because—they allege— (a) she had been sleeping with him when she appointed him; and (b) they were both playing fast and loose with The People’s money. It’s quite the sordid tale.

Nights spent on Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruises, trips to Napa Valley and Florida, and being out on the town, observed “in private together” in Atlanta. Not only that, the motion alleges the two are “believed to have cohabitated in some form or fashion at a location owned by neither of them.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, no MAGA haven, reported that the two have not denied the relationship.

If the allegations are true, [Stephen Gillers, a professor emeritus at New York University Law School] said, “Willis was conflicted in the investigation and prosecution of this case” and wasn’t able to bring the sort of “independent professional judgment” her position requires.

In other words, she’s a politically-active Democrat, in a county government run by Democrats, who thought just because she wasn’t as openly corrupt as her predecessor, she could get away with playing hide-the-salami and pinky-in-the-pushka, while prosecuting the most famous and difficult man in the country, who dearly wants to not go to prison, and to instead go to the White House. And Donald Trump, we know, is not one to play fair. Roman’s laywer, Ashleigh Merchant, is a well-known Atlanta defense counsel. I don’t know if her fees are being paid by the Trump campaign, but this accusation, if true, is pretty damning.

Again, from the AJC:

The bombshell public filing alleged that special prosecutor Nathan Wade, a private attorney, paid for lavish vacations he took with Willis using the Fulton County funds his law firm received. County records show that Wade, who has played a prominent role in the election interference case, has been paid nearly $654,000 in legal fees since January 2022. The DA authorizes his compensation.

So, Fani Willis, whose office is working through another RICO case, against YSL Young Thug, is supposed to take down Trump and his co-conspirators, including Rudy Giuliani, but she might not even get a single day in court. She and her star prosecutor might end up thrown off the case, and then having to answer for potential ethics charges, not to mention violation of her oath.

Donald Trump should bake Fani Willis a cake (with a file in it), decorated with “THANK YOU” for the mugshot, the earned media, and now, the scandal that kills the actual legal jeopardy he might face in Georgia. Trump is prone to calling Nikki Haley a “birdbrain”; that would make Willis a featherbrain. (Birds are actually not stupid, except for domesticated chickens and turkeys. But feathers have no brain.)

Those who wish to stop Donald Trump say they’re smarter than he is, and more honest than he is. Beastie Boy Christie and Featherbrained Fani are not helping their cause.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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