Donald Trump names former Christie aide Bill Stepien to White House political post

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Bill Stepien is going from Bridgegate to the Beltway.

Stepien, the former Chris Christie aide who was dissed by the New Jersey governor during the Bridgegate scandal, will join President-elect Donald Trump's team as "Deputy Assistant to the President and Political Director," transition officials announced Wednesday.

The appointment came amid the release of a roster of White House staff who will work for Trump when he takes over the Oval Office on Jan. 20.

"These individuals will be key leaders in helping to implement the president-elect's agenda and bring real change to Washington," said incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a statement. 

"Each of them has been instrumental over the last several months, and in some cases years, in helping the president-elect."

The Bridgegate scandal dogged Christie during his run for president.Source: Matt Rourke/AP
The Bridgegate scandal dogged Christie during his run for president.  Matt Rourke/AP

Stepien, who served as national field director for Team Trump during the 2016 election, worked closely for many years with Christie, Trump's one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination. 

Stepien ran Christie's successful 2013 gubernatorial re-election campaign and was at one point Christie's choice to head the New Jersey GOP, but the governor ousted him from the inner circle when Bridgegate reared its head.

Stepien has not been charged with wrongdoing in the scandal in which lanes of the George Washington Bridge were closed in a seeming act of political revenge on a mayor who wouldn't support Christie's re-election. However, the Republican is woven inextricably into the story of Bridgegate.

That scandal led to the 2016 convictions of Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority, and Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly.

"Prosecutors in the Bridgegate criminal trial suggested Stepien helped create a culture in Christie's office that led to the lane closure scandal that rocked Christie's administration and is credited with sinking the governor's own White House ambitions," reported NJ.com.

Still, Stepien was reportedly enough admired by Trump insiders to score a ticket to Washington.

Christie, on the other hand, has seemingly fallen from favor and has not scored a high post in the Trump administration despite jumping to his team soon after leaving the GOP primary contest.

As the New York Times reported, "Bridgegate aside, Mr. Stepien is credited by some of Mr. Trump's closest advisers with helping him improve his field organization in crucial states, and contributing to his victory."