Chris Christie heads for London in trip to boost 2016 credentials
New Jersey governor Chris Christie on Sunday began a three-day trade mission to the UK. The trip is meant to bolster his state’s economic and cultural ties with the UK, though it has the added benefit of burnishing his foreign policy credentials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Christie is one of more than a dozen figures exploring whether to make a bid for the Republican nomination.
His office has said not the UK trip is not a political move, but those directly impacted by New Jersey’s economy – the taxpayers – are anxious to see how much of it they are funding. In 2012, Christie went on a four-day trip to the Middle East – and taxpayers had to cover $39,871, according to the non-profit news site New Jersey Watchdog.
Christie has spent more than 100 days out of the state, including tripsto Mexico in September and Canada in December.
In the UK, he will meet business leaders, dignitaries and government officials. He is not set for a reciprocal meeting with Prince Harry, who met the governor in New Jersey in May to tour the areas recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
A little more than a week after Christie returns from the UK, another potential Republican presidential nominee will be in town – Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
Walker is taking a trade trip to the UK from 9 February to 13 February, to encourage Britain to invest in Wisconsin. His office said the mission “will focus solely on attracting foreign direct investment to Wisconsin”.
Potential candidates make trips abroad to show they are fit to lead the US in the world. Ahead of the 2008 presidential election, then Illinois senator Barack Obama travelled to the Middle East and Europe.
Such trips can be risky. Mitt Romney made several missteps in a trip to London ahead of the 2012 presidential election, including criticizing how Britain had prepared for the Olympics and confirming that he had met the head of MI6, whose activities are normally secret. On Friday, Romney said he had decided not to run for president in 2016.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015