Governor Chris Christie Defends Trump's NJ RecordApril 8, 2016 12:06 pm
For more than two decades, Donald Trump was an integral part of New Jersey’s gambling industry, with the billionaire having employed thousands of people at his three Atlantic City casinos, and having generated millions of dollars in state tax revenues. In 2016, however, the Republican front-runner has had his New Jersey record criticized by his political rivals, who have even gone so far as to assign blame to him for the decline of Atlantic City’s casinos, as well as the wider region.
Against this backdrop, NJ Governor Chris Christie recently expressed his support for Donald Trump, whilst dismissing the claims currently being made by his opponents. As Christie told reporters on Tuesday:
“He is an honorable person, and I don’t believe he’s ever been an office-holder in Atlantic City. I don’t remember Donald being mayor.”
The comment appeared to be a dig at the serving Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian, who is currently locked in a acrimonious battle with Christie over the desperately needed money to prevent AC from going bankrupt. Christie is first seeking to have New Jersey assume control of AC’s finances before funding the $240 million in debt, and $160 million in tax appeals required by AC, and the NJ Governor said that Guardian would be to blame if the deal falls through.
According to his critics, Trump let down Atlantic City when he purchased the Trump Taj Mahal in 1987, but failed to keep his promise to fund completion of the building project through bank loans. When the banks backed out of the deal, Trump instead raised the funds through high interest junk bonds, but was subsequently forced to file for bankruptcy protection 15 months later.
While critics have somehow seen Trump as partly responsible for creating Atlantic City’s declining gaming revenues, property values, and therefore tax shortfalls, Chris Christie, on the other hand, sees imprudent spending by local government as the real culprit for the resort’s untenable financial situation. Regardless, Christie is requesting political rivals put their differences aside in order to deal with matter swiftly, and as he recently commented:
“If all you see are headlines that Atlantic City is out of money, people may draw a lot of wrong conclusions from that. It can affect tourism not only to Atlantic City but to all of south Jersey.”