LONDON — Thinking of seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016? London is calling. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this weekend becomes the latest in a parade of potential candidates to journey across the Atlantic to try and nurture their own special relationship with Great Britain — or at least enhance their limited foreign policy credentials.
“The goal for me and the delegation is to strengthen the business, cultural and diplomatic ties between our state and the United Kingdom,” Christie said in a conference call with reporters before arriving in London Sunday, noting that 180 New Jersey-based companies do business with England. “We have a durable relationship with Great Britain. Our goal is just to make it stronger,” he said.
The trip could also serve as a practice run for performing on a potentially larger stage, whether as a presidential nominee or as commander in chief. But Christie comes to London with a much lower profile than a major party nominee — and plans to mix some play with work on his London sojourn. On Sunday, Christie and his wife Mary Pat attended a Premiere League soccer match, which Christie had said he was “looking forward to,” while joking about backlash surrounding his support for the Dallas Cowboys. “As all of you are painfully aware, I am an avid sports fan,” he said, adding that he also hoped to catch some of the Super Bowl.
On Monday, he'll meet with Prime Minister David Cameron and on Tuesday, he will meet with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, both of whom the New Jersey Governor has met in the U.S. “I look forward to meeting with them again and to listen and learn about the issues and challenges and how that overlaps with the United States and New Jersey,” Christie said.
Christie will then travel to Cambridge to meet with health care and life science industry representatives, tour a biologics research company that does business in Princeton, N.J., and lay a wreath at the Cambridge American Cemetery, where the remains of many Americans who died in World War II are buried. The Christies also plan to attend a rehearsal of Henry V at the Globe, the historic Shakespeare theater, where New Jersey’s Rutgers University has an exchange program.
— Kasie Hunt and Kelly O'Donnell
A version of this article first appeared on MSNBC.com.