Chris Christie might not have officially announced a 2016 White House bid just yet, but his wife’s most recent move has spoken volumes enough. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mary Pat Christie had left her Wall Street job to spend more time with her husband as he considers a possible presidential campaign, giving up a lucrative $500,000 a year salary in the process. Of course, Mrs. Christie’s motive is all speculative until her husband decides to announce his 2016 intentions — but it’s a safe bet, considering the scores of women who have given up their own careers for their husbands’ political aspirations in recent years.
“Mrs. Christie has decided to take a hiatus from her work in the finance world to spend more time with her family and young children,” a spokesperson for the New Jersey governor’s family told the Journal.
According to the report, Mrs. Christie had been working at the New York-based specialty firm Angelo Gordon, a private equity firm headquartered on the upscale end of Park Avenue. Recent financial disclosure forms confirmed her $500,000 a year salary, pushing the Christie family collective income to around $700,000 per year. Some point out to that Mrs. Christie may have left her job to protect her husband’s image as he entertains a 2016 run.
“The fact that my wife and I, who are not wealthy by current standards, that we have to file a [huge] tax return ... is insane,” Christie said in a visit to the editorial board of the Manchester Union-Leader on Monday. “We don’t have nearly that much money,” he insisted.
Whether Christie was simply acting out of touch or simply didn’t understand the ramifications of his statements was anyone’s guess. Either way, with his wife’s resignation, Christie may have dodged a serious bullet just in time to consider a presidential bid.
Mrs. Christie, however, isn’t alone in her actions: in this election alone, other political spouses have given up flourishing careers in booming industries as well, whether to avoid stepped-up scrutiny or to simply dedicate their energy toward support their husband or wife’s civic urges.
Following Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign announcement in March, wife Heidi, a successful Harvard Business alumna, took an unpaid leave of absence from her position as managing director at Goldman Sachs in order to lend her efforts to her husband’s bid. Cruz was quick to show his support.
“I am unabashedly proud of everything about Heidi — she [has] an incredibly successful business career,” said Cruz in an interview with Bloomberg Politics that same month, in an attempt to silence curious onlookers who pointed to Cruz’s continued bashing of crony capitalism as an unintentional knock against his wife’s work. Heidi has since been seen making the rounds with her husband, even batting off a few inquiries into her own background to keep the focus on Cruz.
The story is the same on the opposite end of the spectrum, as well. Current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has spent her fair share of time in the shadow of her politically ambitious husband Bill, despite her many career accolades and triumphs.
In 1992, when asked by a nosy reporter to describe herself as either a successful “attorney mother” or a “yuppie wife from hell,” Clinton cooly replied that she was all three — a mother, a wife, and an activist — before later shutting down the argument, joking, “I’m too old to be a yuppie.” Since those (unfortunately sexist) days, Clinton has effectively stolen the spotlight from husband Bill, taking over the presidential reins and launching a second bid for the White House just this month after spending almost 15 years as a successful politician and Secretary of State.
Fortunately for Bill, I'm betting that he won’t need to drastically change his career ambitions in order to support his wife.
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