TRENTON, N.J. — Donald Trump is pledging that the government he appoints will bring sweeping change to Washington’s culture. So far, that promise comes with a heavy New Jersey accent.
Despite being passed over for the job of Trump’s running mate, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and an entourage of his closest allies could leave a lasting mark on a Trump administration, should Trump win in November.
As chairman of Trump’s transition team, Christie is building a coalition of advisers who will staff key federal government agencies and execute new policy prescriptions if Trump wins the general election.
Among them are two of his longtime aides, Rich Bagger, a lobbyist who helped lead Christie’s gubernatorial transition team, and Bill Palatucci, a top Christie adviser whose law firm has been showered with government legal work.
‘‘The chairman is the public face, sets the tone, and ensures the transition has good connectivity with the candidate,’’ said Clay Johnson, who served as executive director of George W. Bush’s transition team in 2000.
The team also includes Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — a New Jersey native — along with some experienced government officials such as Jaime Burke, who was the personnel director for the Romney transition team in 2012 and a White House liaison to Health and Human Services under George W. Bush.
Presidential transition teams lay the groundwork early since the winner is ultimately faced with the daunting task of readying the new administration in the two-and-a-half months between Election Day and the inauguration.
‘‘You have to be proactive,’’ Johnson said.