Chris Christie has for years seemed to be made of teflon. Nothing sticks to this guy. Even before being elected Governor, he was plagued by scandals that just never seemed to slow his momentum. But it looks like that teflon coating may finally be starting to peel. In response to subpoena, emails and texts have now surfaced directly linking the New Jersey Governor’s office to the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.
The closures resulted in a massive, weekend-long traffic fiasco for the city of Fort Lee, and have long been believed to be political retribution. Christie, of course, has vehemently and angrily rejected any suggestion that the move was in retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for having had the gall to endorse Christie’s opponent in the 2013 election. But today’s revelations, aren’t pretty for Christie. In fact, despite Christie’s enduring popularity, there are now calls for a Federal criminal investigation. Blue Jersey reports:
Reporting from Shawn Boburg of The Record tracks the decision – possibly illegal – to create traffic chaos in Fort Lee via sudden GWB lane closures right into the executive offices of Gov. Chris Christie:
Governor Christie’s deputy chief of staff told one of his top Port Authority executives that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” several weeks before controversial lane closures took place at the George Washington Bridge, according to sources.
Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote in an email to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures, according to the sources.
At first glance, it may seem unlikely that Christie’s appeal with the wider U.S. will be affected by a squabble over a little traffic in a New Jersey town, but a closer look shows this to be very troubling. For one thing, it cements his reputation as a bully. And it’s not just a tough, ’Jersey guy’ personality where he yells a little ‘straight talk’ at some hapless teacher — he even governs as a bully. The emails released today give us glimpse inside the ugly heart of the Christie administration as they gleefully orchestrated the closure mess and the sheer contempt held for their own constituents.
One text message sent to Wildstein [director of interstate capital projects] on the day of the lane closures referenced mass school bus delays. “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?” the message read.
“No,” Wildstein wrote.
“I feel badly about the kids. I guess,” the person, who is unidentified, texted back.
Wildstein replied, “They are the children of Buono voters.” Barbara Buono was the Democratic challenger to Christie who lost handily to the governor last November.
Read the emails yourself. Chris Christie’s got some explaining to do.