Tale Of Two Tough Guys

by Geraldo Rivera | Jun 30, 2015

Both are strong, extremely competent men and neither is backing down from controversial issues that would have crushed lesser candidates. I’m talking about Donald Trump and Governor Chris Christie, two candidates for president cut from the same cloth. Both are proud, boisterous and favor unconventional styles that have served them well in their hugely successful public lives.
Donald Trump assumed the mantle of his family’s real estate business and used the relatively modest enterprise as a springboard to a sprawling multi-billion dollar worldwide company with extensive holdings in many of the most desirable locations on the planet. He has flamboyantly remade entire neighborhoods, reinvigorated golf as a high-end sport, resurrected or built many of the world’s best golf courses and with Celebrity Apprentice, he’s remained a hit fixture on network television for eleven years.
Chris Christie went from fierce federal prosecutor of public corruption to insurgent Republican candidate for governor in the overwhelmingly Democratic State of New Jersey.
When he was first elected and through much of his first term in office the governor was one of the most popular in the history of the Garden State. He took on the teachers union, capped the growth of property taxes and showed enough compassion towards minorities including immigrants to seem like exactly the sort of Republican who could unite a coalition broad enough to win the White House.
But for both presidential candidates, Christie and Trump, things have changed and not for the better. Governor Christie’s problems have been festering longer and deeper. Ever since Hurricane Sandy and his literal embrace of President Obama, his tenure in office has been marked by melancholy and controversy.
New Jersey seems stuck in the recession that has largely dissipated in other states. There are severe problems with the pension system, a series of credit downgrades, and most damaging, there is Bridgegate.
The scandal that followed the decision to close the George Washington Bridge entrances for the people of Bergen County as a punishment for the failure of the Democratic mayor of Ft. Lee to support the governor’s re-election bid, reminded everyone of how Christie’s bullying style probably inspired if not specifically ordered the bridge closure out of spite.
And whether the governor was personally involved, there is little doubt that his former high school classmate David Wildstein, who has already pled guilty in federal court to conspiracy to deprive the people of Ft. Lee of their constitutional rights, at the very least believed, Wildstein did, that he was doing something of which his boss would approve.
Trump’s problem is different. His candidacy was never given a chance by anyone except people like me who have spent quality time with this dynamo. His rambling announcement for president, which we carried here live made up in energy and clarity what it lacked in finesse and political correctness. Trump surged in the polls as a result.
But there was a problem that needed remedy that instead led Mr. Trump to throw gasoline on the fire. During his speech he seemed to label all undocumented Mexican immigrants murderers, rapists and drug dealers. When people like me complained, instead of modifying his remarks and maybe even saying he was sorry for insulting an entire race of people, Trump dug in.
The Latino establishment stuck back and now Trump has been fired by NBC; his Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants will not be carried by the Spanish language network and Celebrity Apprentice has been cancelled at least until another host for the program can be found.
Maybe Donald can stare down the entire Hispanic community and use its passionate reaction to his benefit among Republican primary voters who believe our nation is being overrun by a brown tide from south of the border.
Maybe Chris Christie can outrun Bridgegate and remind voters of his feisty independence.
Both tough guys have their work cut out for them.

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