New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has faced questions about his midsection for as long as he’s been in the public eye, responding with a mix of jokes and anger, and knows full well that the pundit obsession with his body will only get worse if he runs for president in 2016. Since he’s never been one to stick with a diet, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a shock that Christie opted for lap-band stomach surgery this February under a fake name, as he revealed to the New York Post today. “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he said. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.” It’s not, he promises, about wanting to be president.
And it probably shouldn’t be, our own Jonathan Chait argued two years ago: “Why does his weight matter at all? The only real reasoning I see here is that American elites view obesity with disgust, and they’re repulsed at the notion that a very fat guy could rise to a position of symbolic leadership.” But even if health is the chief concern, the surgery surely has superficial, and potentially political, benefits.
“It’s so much more important than that,” Christie said. Donors and those otherwise obsessed with an election still more than three years away, meanwhile, will take any sign they can get that he’s plotting a run. “I know it sounds crazy to say that running for president is minor,” Christie insisted, “but in the grand scheme of things, it was looking at Mary Pat and the kids and going, ‘I have to do this for them, even if I don’t give a crap about myself.’” He reportedly sought counsel from New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who slimmed down the same way.
And it’s working! “A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full,” said Christie, with “sources” telling the Post he’s already lost about 40 pounds. At this rate, he’ll be in fighting shape come primary season.