But 2016 is not a typical election cycle, especially in the orbit of Mr. Trump, who tends to ignore unpleasant news or play down its significance.
Conventional rules dont apply to Trump, said Rob Stutzman, a California-based political consultant who has been deeply critical of him.
Proving that point, Mr. Trump, in a statement made to The New York Times through an adviser, said he was sticking with Mr. Christie, noting that the governor had heaped praise on him back in February.
I have known and liked Chris for 15 years, Mr. Trump said. After his recent run for president, he called me to say that he would like to endorse me in that he sees a movement like he has never seen before. I was greatly honored, accepted his endorsement, and he has been a spectacular advocate ever since.
Mr. Trump made no mention of the trial. And his view of Mr. Christie seems shaped by a single factor that shapes many of Mr. Trumps views: loyalty.
Mr. Christie was not only an early supporter, but a prominent Republican and former head of the Republican Governors Association who backed Mr. Trump just as most of the partys establishment came together to try to deny him the nomination.
Mr. Christie worked aggressively to get donors and other governors to back Mr. Trump, failing with most, except Gov. Paul R. LePage of Maine. He also connected Mr. Trump with another governor, Mike Pence of Indiana, before the states primary in May.
Timeline A Timeline for the George Washington Bridge Scandal Events in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey regarding the motives behind the shutdown of some traffic lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
In July, Mr. Trump chose the clean-cut Mr. Pence as his running mate, bypassing Mr. Christie in part because of the nagging questions about the bridge closing scandal.
Continue reading the main storyIf anything, some of this may indicate that the vetting for vice president was a better process than maybe some would have imagined, Mr. Stutzman said dryly.
Privately, Mr. Trump told people at the time that Mr. Christies poll numbers had plunged and that he would do little to lift the ticket. Still, he entrusted Mr. Christie with running his transition process, a task that the governor eagerly took up and that few prominent Republicans had expressed an interest in spearheading.
The transition role has allowed Mr. Christie to remain relatively behind the scenes, briefing lobbyists and potential donors in various meetings and conference calls about the plans for a Trump administration.
In recent weeks, Mr. Christie has sought a more public presence, appearing on Sunday news shows as a defender of Mr. Trump. One appearance was last Sunday, when Mr. Christie struggled to explain the candidates abrupt, and brief, reversal of his false claim that President Obama may not have been born in the United States.
Whether Mr. Christie makes many more such appearances remains to be seen.
But Mr. Trumps decision to continue to laud Mr. Christie and call him a friend amid a publicity nightmare has a recent precedent: It is similar to how he handled the allegations against Roger Ailes, the ousted head of Fox News, who was accused of sexually harassing female employees over decades.
Mr. Ailes has played a role in Mr. Trumps general election debate preparations. He is, Mr. Trump has said, a good person.
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