New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will probably never hear the end of his public adoration of the Dallas Cowboys after he appeared in owner Jerry Jones’ box Sunday and was part of that much-talked about hug. But he can count on his little brother’s defense, no matter what.
“Those non Cowboy fans who have their panties in a ringer because the Governor of NJ is a Cowboys fan---GET A LIFE !!!,” Todd Christie wrote on Facebook.
“The Gov has been a Cowboys fan for his entire life and ALL of you would sit with the owner of your favorite team in a heartbeat if given the chance,” Todd Christie added. “And for every calorically challenged FB person who posts about the Gov's weight--forget the magic mirror and look at yourself. Weight posts---really?”
It’s not out of the ordinary for a sibling to defend his or her brother or sister, but such a public defense of his possible 2016 candidate brother tends to lead to headlines and it's not the first time.
During the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal last year, Todd Christie, who is a director at Ernst & Young, also took to Facebook to defend his brother, writing, “You have to laugh or you just might lose your mind.”
“On the various ‘objective cable channels I have seen 3 different candidates that have lost to the Governor over the last 5 years talk about his immediate demise,” Todd Christie, 50, wrote. “Rumor is that the kid he beat out for 6th grade student council is coming on TV later to talk about how Christie ops stuffed the ballot box in 1974. God help us all if this is what is now national news and the pursuit of the real story.”
He also jabbed reporters and critics of his brother during the scandal, known as Bridgegate, for “detailing all the news shows that they will be on each day.”
In Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, where he successfully beat incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, his brother was also busy on social media engaging in what became a well-publicized online argument with a political consultant for his brother’s primary opponent. He wrote of Rick Shaftan that he “can’t wait to dance on your political grave.”
Shaftan, a conservative political consultant in New Jersey, told ABC News Todd Christie took offense to something he wrote about his brother on Facebook and wrote the “wannabe mafia threat” in response, but Shaftan said he has “nothing against the guy personally, it’s politics is all it was.”
“He thinks I don’t like him, but I respect the guy for standing up for his brother,” Shaftan said. “I think it’s an admirable trait.”
He added that he’s personally “not an Eagles fan,” and he thinks “people take sports too seriously.”
“I don’t think Todd Christie will be a problem for his brother,” Shaftan said of 2016. “If anything, people might be attracted to [his defense of his brother]. I don’t think people vote for or against candidates because of their brother.”
Shaftan, who worked for Christie’s primary opponent Steven Lonegan in 2009, said it’s Christie the candidate who will have a problem and it has nothing to do with his brother.
“The candidate has no compelling reason to run for president,” he said, “The state is going downhill…If you are inclined to like Christie, you have Jeb Bush and Romney, where does (Christie) fit?”
A 2010 New York Times profile of Todd Christie noted he made more than $60 million when his stock specialist firm was bought by Goldman Sachs, the investment bank, in 2000. In 2003, he was implicated in a federal fraud investigation where his firm was under investigation of cheating customers to benefit the firm. He was not indicted and the company settled the case with Chris Christie saying during his 2009 campaign his brother had done “absolutely nothing wrong.”
But the Securities and Exchange settlement Todd Christie signed in 2008 “maintains that he carried out hundreds of trades that brought the firm thousands of dollars in profits at its customers’ expense, and had violated stock exchange rules,” according to the Times profile.
The two brothers maintain a close relationship and he has been described over the years as an advisor to Christie, now 52. In the six years his brother was U.S. Attorney before he became governor, Christie was barred from political activity, but Todd Christie was accused of acting as his proxy, making political contributions and attending local political gatherings to ingratiate himself with donors and GOP leaders who would come in helpful during his gubernatorial run.
In response to critics who characterized Todd Christie’s political contributions as helping his brother become United States Attorney, Todd Christie told the New York Times in an interview for the same article there was no connection.
“I’d always been involved in politics, but since I’d had the good fortune to become successful, I had more to give,” he said.
Meanwhile, heading toward what is looking more and more like a presidential run, Todd Christie is “a little bit of both” an asset and a liability for his big brother, says Brigid Harrison, political science professor at Montclair State University.
“What we know about their relationship is that it is enormously intense and the governor has no more a loyal supporter than his brother and we also have seen time and time again Todd Christie has done many, many things to further his brother’s career,” Harrison said. “But, in other times he has generated comparisons to Billy Carter…the allegations of fraud during his career, all those characterizations lead one to understand like [siblings of] many other presidential candidates he may not particularly be an asset in terms of public opinion.”
As for his vigorous defense of his brother, Harrison says she thinks voters “understand and admire the kind of familial relationship where he will fight for his brother’s name and reputation.”
“In looking at the Facebook posts…it’s probably something Mary Pat Christie and the governor himself want to say, but of course they can’t,” she added.
Todd Christie returned an ABC News request for an interview but said all requests must go through the governor’s communications director, who declined to make Todd Christie and the governor available.