TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — As the last of the top jobs in the Trump administration are handed out in Washington, Gov. Chris Christie is looking increasingly like the guy in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” who is told: “You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”
With his own failed presidential campaign behind him and his support of Donald Trump unrewarded with a high-level post, Christie instead faces his eighth and final year as governor of New Jersey, where his approval ratings are a dreadful 19 percent.
His numbers have been dragged down by resentment over his national ambitions, his embrace of Trump and the George Washington Bridge traffic-jam scandal.
On Tuesday, Christie will deliver his annual State of the State Address, during which the 54-year-old Republican will lay out his agenda — and no doubt begin trying to salvage his legacy — to an electorate that would rather see him go.
“Gov. Christie has reached the nadir of both his popularity and his power, and, at this point, it appears there are few remaining opportunities to further his political career in any predictable way,” said Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison. “That said, this is a politician who has consistently written his own script.”
Christie has, in fact, begun mending fences with Trump, paying a visit to Trump Tower last week where he met with the president-elect and staffers, and could end up joining the administration later on, according to people familiar with the discussions. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
While Christie in his 2015 State of the State focused on national issues with an eye toward the White House, he is expected this time to concentrate on problems closer to home, namely the state’s opioid addiction crisis.
“One thing you should know for sure is that I am going to leave this job exactly the same way I came into it,” Christie said recently. “Loudly.”
A former U.S. attorney who made a name for himself prosecuting political corruption, Christie swept into office in 2009 and governed with a blunt and often bruising style, tangling with ordinary people who dared challenge him in public.
He was widely praised for his field-marshal-like leadership after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the state in 2012 and for telling people to “get the hell off the beach” during a hurricane in 2011. He made the cover of Time magazine with the headline “The Boss.”
He cruised to re-election in 2013 and was seen as a strong potential 2016 candidate for president. But he was soon engulfed in scandal when it was learned that some of his allies had closed lanes and created gridlock at the George Washington Bridge to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing him.
Christie was not charged and insisted he had no knowledge of the plot. But testimony at the trial last fall of two of his loyalists suggested he knew more than he let on. And the scandal reinforced his reputation as a bully, contributing to his weak showing in the early presidential contests.
Christie soon threw his endorsement to Trump, though he was ridiculed mercilessly for his shell-shocked, thousand-yard stare at a campaign event with the billionaire businessman.
Trump tapped Christie to lead his transition team but passed him over for vice president. The pair had their differences, including a dispute over how Trump should respond to the release of the video that showed Trump bragging about groping women, and relations grew strained.
Days after Trump won, Christie was booted as head of the transition and Christie loyalists were scrubbed from job short lists. Christie was soon passed over for top administration positions, including attorney general, though he also turned down several jobs as well, according to a person with knowledge of Christie’s decision.
Back home in New Jersey, there is little affection for him.
In his seven years in office, a deal he made to shore up the public pension fund fell apart, a plan to change the school funding formula has stalled, and he has made little progress against the state’s notoriously high property taxes.
Last month, a plan he pushed to raise the salaries of top state officials in exchange for letting him profit from a book deal while in office collapsed amid a public outcry.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, attributed Christie’s low ratings to a number of factors, including Bridgegate, his backing of Trump in heavily Democratic New Jersey and a feeling among many people that the governor “has turned his back on the state and used it as a steppingstone for his own advancement.”
As for other career possibilities, Christie has said he could go into the private sector to make money, noting he is still paying off his children’s college tuition bills. He also wants to write that book. And he is a semi-regular host on a New York sports radio program.
“In the modern history of New Jersey we have not seen the kind of fall Chris Christie has had. He went from his tremendous re-election of 2013 to where we are in 2017,” said Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “The man had a huge opportunity in his second term to reshape New Jersey because he had such a dominant performance, but it all seemed to have flittered away.”
Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, a close ally of the governor’s, faulted the media for “trolling” for bad news about public officials.
“Once heads pop up in the 2017 race,” Bramnick said, “maybe Gov. Christie doesn’t look too bad.”
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this story.
This story has been corrected to show that Superstorm Sandy was in 2012.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump pledged to step away from his family-owned international real estate development, property management and licensing business before taking office Jan. 20. With less than two weeks until his inauguration, he hasn’t stepped very far.
Trump has canceled a handful of international deals and dissolved a few shell companies created for prospective investments. Still, he continues to own or control some 500 companies that make up the Trump Organization, creating a tangle of potential conflicts of interest without precedent in modern U.S. history.
The president-elect is expected to give an update on his effort to distance himself from his business at a Wednesday news conference. He told The Associated Press on Friday that he would be announcing a “very simple solution.”
Ethics experts have called for Trump to sell off his assets and place his investments in a blind trust, which means something his family would not control. That’s what previous presidents have done.
Trump has given no indication he will go that far. He has said he will not be involved in day-to-day company operations and will leave that duty to his adult sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr. The president-elect has not addressed the ethical minefield of whether he would retain a financial interest in his Trump Organization.
A look at what’s known about what Trump has and hasn’t tried to resolve his business entanglement before his swearing-in:
Trump has abandoned planned business ventures in Azerbaijan, Brazil, Georgia, India and Argentina. The Associated Press found he has dissolved shell companies tied to a possible business venture in Saudi Arabia.
It’s unclear whether those moves are signs that Trump is dismantling the web of companies that make up his business. Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten has insisted none of the closures is related to Trump’s election. He calls them “normal housecleaning.”
The Trump Organization still has an expanding reach across the globe: The Trump International Golf Club in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is set to open next month.
Trump has said there will be “no new deals” while he’s in office. But Eric Trump, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, told Argentinian newspapers last week that the company was open to another business venture in the country.
“We would like to find something,” Eric Trump told Clarin, as he toured a Trump building construction site. “We’ll find a project.”
The younger Trump did rule out expansion in Russia, at least any time soon.
“Is there a possibility sometime in the next 20, 30 years we end up in Russia? Absolutely. Is it right for us right now? Probably not,” Eric Trump said, in a video interview with La Nacion posted on the newspaper’s website.
Asked about the potential for conflicts of interest if the business continues to operate, Eric Trump compared the separation between the Trump-led government and Trump-led company to the separation between church and state. “These two things will be unfailingly separate,” he said, adding, “we will not share functions.”
Of Trump’s U.S. portfolio, no venture has become more emblematic of the potential conflicts of interest facing Trump than his hotel at the Old Post Office in the nation’s capital. The federal government, which he soon will oversee, holds the lease on the building he turned into a sparkling luxury hotel that opened shortly before Election Day.
The terms of Trump’s contract with the government expressly prohibit elected officials from having a financial interest in the property. Democratic senators said the General Services Administration told them that the moment Trump takes office, he would violate the terms of his contract
Neither GSA nor Trump transition officials responded to inquiries about what steps, if any, Trump has taken with regard to that contract provision.
Trump is still listed as a producer for the reality TV show, “Celebrity Apprentice.” He has said he will not spend time working on the show. Financial disclosures he filed during the campaign show his company, Trump Productions, earned about $5.9 million from “The Apprentice” shows in 2015.
Trump has a considerable amount of business debt that could put creditors in the position of having leverage over an enterprise with close ties to the U.S. president and his family. Last May, Trump reported on his financial disclosure that he had at least $315 million in debt related to his companies. The disclosed debt, mostly mortgages for his properties, is held by banks, including Deutsche Bank and investors who bought chunks of the debt from the original creditors.
Last month, Trump announced that he would shutter his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, to avoid conflicts of interest.
The decision came after the foundation admitted in a tax filing that in 2015 and an unspecified number of previous years it violated IRS prohibitions against self-dealing, broadly defined as using charity money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies or substantial contributors to the foundation.
The New York attorney general’s office has said the foundation cannot dissolve until it completes its investigation into whether Trump used the foundation for personal gain. The attorney general’s office has not said whether the investigation will be wrapped up by Trump inauguration.
Eric Trump has decided to shut down his charity, which primarily raised money for St. Jude’s children’s hospital, to pre-empt conflicts of interest. That move came after the younger Trump was found to be offering in a charity auction a coffee date with his sister, Ivanka Trump, who is expected to take a position in the White House.
Questions remain about how Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, who is planning to advise the president, will separate from their own businesses.
On Saturday, representatives for Kushner told the AP that he has been talking with the Office of Government Ethics and is exploring taking steps to disentangle himself from his business, The Kushner Companies, in preparation for taking a White House role.
Under those plans, Kushner representatives say he would resign as CEO of the real-estate development business, which has been involved in some $7 billion in acquisitions in the past 10 years.
Kushner would divest “substantial” assets including his stake in a New York City skyscraper that has been the subject of months of negotiations between Kushner and Anbang Insurance Group, a real estate giant with close ties to the Chinese government. Kushner’s negotiations with the company were first reported by The New York Times.
Ivanka Trump, in addition to serving as an executive at her father’s company, has developed a lifestyle brand selling shoes, jewelry and other products. She caught heat after her fine jewelry company marketed the $10,800 bracelet she wore during a postelection “60 Minutes” interview with her father.
Representatives for Ivanka Trump’s brand declined comment.
In order to take posts in the administration, both Kushner and Ivanka Trump would need to argue that a federal anti-nepotism law that bar officials from appointing relatives to government positions does not apply to them.
Trump also is set to take office while battling a number of lawsuits. The president-elect sat for a videotaped deposition on Thursday involving a dispute with a celebrity chef who pulled out of a deal to open a restaurant at his new hotel in the Old Post Office building. When Jose Andres scuttled his plans for the restaurant citing Trump’s campaign comments about some Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals, The Trump Organization sued him for breach of contract.
Trump also sued another celebrity chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, for similar reasons.
Trump did act to close out one of the highest-profile disputes, over his now-defunct Trump University real estate school. After his election in November, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle two class-action suits and one by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that alleged the school misled and defrauded students. Trump admitted no wrongdoing and has yet to pay the fine, according to court records.
AP Business Writer Bernard Condon and Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York, AP writer Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa, and AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.
A look at what’s known about what Trump has and hasn’t tried in order to resolve his business entanglement before his swearing-in Jan. 20:
The New York attorney general’s office has said the foundation cannot dissolve until the state completes its investigation into whether Trump used the foundation for personal gain. The attorney general’s office has not said whether the investigation will be wrapped up by Trump inauguration.
Ivanka Trump, in addition to serving as an executive at her father’s company, has developed a lifestyle brand, selling shoes, jewelry and other products. She caught heat after her fine jewelry company marketed the $10,800 bracelet she wore during a postelection “60 Minutes” interview with her father.
Representatives for Ivanka Trump and her companies did not respond to requests for comment about her business plans. In order to take posts in the administration, both Kushner and Ivanka Trump would need to argue that a federal anti-nepotism law that bar officials from appointing relatives to government positions does not apply to them.
Trump also is set to take office while battling a number of lawsuits. The president-elect sat for a videotaped deposition on Thursday involving a dispute with a celebrity chef who pulled out of a deal to open a restaurant at his new hotel in the Old Post Office building in the District of Columbia. When Jose Andres scuttled his plans for the restaurant, citing Trump’s campaign comments about some Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals, The Trump Organization sued him for breach of contract.
Trump did act to close out one of the highest-profile disputes centering on his now-defunct Trump University real estate school. After his election in November, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle two class-action suits and one by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that alleged the school misled and defrauded students. Trump admitted no wrongdoing and has yet to pay the fine, according to court records.
AP Business Writer Bernard Condon and Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York, and AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.
You want to land that dream job? Chances are, so do dozens or even hundreds of your peers. But adding a unique twist to your resume could very well help get you noticed in a crowded field of candidates. Here are a few ideas.
We’re not talking bribery here—although a little chocolate has the potential to go a long way with a sweet-toothed hiring manager. But for once it’s not exactly what’s inside that counts—it’s all in the packaging. Brainstorm ways you can be clever with various designs. Perhaps it’s a you-branded box with strategically placed key words, or your experience and awards listed out as ingredients on chic paper wrapping. Just be sure to include all the important information such as your contact details and why it’s you they should hire.
Have an artistic eye? Understand how to build an impactful composite image? Set the scene for your potential employer with a single photograph. Think about what will help tell the story of who you are. What could you incorporate into an image that would highlight your experience and strengths? Perhaps you show what’s in your backpack or on your desk. Maybe you lay everything out on a bed next to a suitcase like you’re packing for an adventure. Because, well…you sort of are!
Comfortable in front of a camera? Producing a creative video could be key to getting your foot in the door. First, think about the ways you can showcase your personality and talents. Do you sing or dance? Are you a skilled athlete, or great with editing and animation? Then write a script that best summarizes your experience and skills, and communicates why you are the best person for the job. Keep it short, sweet and professional. And if possible, send your video as a link—not a bulky file attachment.
Are you a “visual person?” If you’ve got graphic design skills and can pull off organizing your experience in an innovative way, go for it. Seek out examples of flow chart resumes and see how your background would be best presented. You could even create a yes/no flow chart that leads a reader down various paths, revealing your character and skills along the way.
A one size fits all approach to job-seeking is a major no-no. And while any resume—no matter the format—should be tailored to the specific job that you’re applying to, this may be particularly important when crafting a themed resume. By themed we mean taking something recognizable—an Amazon.com product listing, a Google Analytics report or a Photoshop document—and using it as a template to communicate your personality and strengths in an inventive way.
Mmm…burger and fries. A classic American culinary combo. We don’t often stop to consider what it takes to put one on the plate though, do we? Like all the water used to produce just one pound of grain-fed beef—nearly two thousand gallons! Or all the greenhouse gasses emitted in the process—as much as all the world’s vehicles, ships and aircraft put together! But what if we could have our burger and feel good about it too? It’s possible with the new Impossible Burger from Impossible Foods, a company founded in 2011 made up of passionate foodies, farmers, scientists and engineers.
What makes this 100 percent veggie burger so believable? A heme protein called leghemoglobin helps it “bleed,” sizzle and taste like beef. It’s also made with wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and other all-natural ingredients, so it uses 95 percent less land, 74 percent less water and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional beef burger. And with no hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients, it really does seem like a better burger.
“The long-term goal of Impossible Foods is to accelerate the switch to a sustainable food system that creates new markets for farmers and helps feed 9 billion people by 2050,” said Impossible Foods CEO and founder Pat Brown in a recent press release. “We plan to expand to a full range of delicious products, including pork, chicken, fish and dairy so that people can continue to eat the foods they love. The burger is just the beginning.”
The Impossible Burger is available at a handful of west coast restaurant locations so far, but when it does make it to your town, will you ditch the cow and make the switch?
Vote and tell us what you think — you can even submit video comments to email@example.com. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
SOWETO, South Africa (AP) — South Africa’s scandal-ridden president said Sunday the ruling party has made “mistakes” and is determined to root out the corruption that is destroying the country’s democracy, as a shaken African National Congress begins looking for a new leader before the next election in 2019.
President Jacob Zuma tried to rally the ANC at its 105th anniversary celebration after a year in which the party saw its worst election showing since taking power a generation ago at the end of white minority rule.
Many blame the 74-year-old Zuma, who in November escaped a move by senior party members to oust him as president. Zuma faces the reinstatement of corruption charges linked to an arms deal and has been accused of allowing a wealthy family to influence state decisions, among other scandals.
“When leaders and members of the ANC are corrupt and steal they are betraying the values of the ANC, the people and our country. We will not allow this,” Zuma said to a stadium of thousands of party faithful.
South Africa’s move last year to leave the International Criminal Court, after former President Nelson Mandela was a passionate advocate for the court’s creation, led critics to again say the ANC had drifted from its earlier ideals. Meanwhile, anger grows over high unemployment, a weak education system and poor delivery of basic services in a country that jostles with Nigeria to be Africa’s leading economy.
“Our people have told us that we come across as too busy fighting one another and do not pay sufficient attention to their needs,” Zuma said. “We must give our people hope. We must unite against our common enemies, which are unemployment, poverty and inequality.”
The country’s next presidential elections are in 2019. An ANC conference in December will determine who will succeed Zuma as party leader — and likely as president, as the party has never lost the general election since it took power in 1994.
But the party is under growing pressure from the opposition. In August’s municipal elections, the rival Democratic Alliance reached beyond its political stronghold in the Cape region to win control of the capital region and Johannesburg for the first time.
Neither of the two people seen as the likely candidates to succeed Zuma as ANC leader, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has declared their intention to run.
The ANC’s Women’s League has announced its support for Dlamini-Zuma, who is also President Jacob Zuma’s ex-wife. In his speech Sunday, Zuma made a point of saying that the focus this year is on empowering women.
Associated Press videographer Renee Graham contributed.