A cache of private messages linking Governor Christie’s office to vindictive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September plunged the administration into a deep crisis on Wednesday, threatening Christie’s national profile as a straight-talker and feeding criticism that his administration has used its power to bully political enemies.In response to the controversy, Governor Christie issued the following statement.
The explosive e-mails and text messages, obtained and first reported by The Record, sparked a political firestorm that extended far beyond New Jersey and Fort Lee — which was gridlocked for days as a result of the closures — and appeared destined to stretch into the foreseeable future. They also pushed Christie to expand on his previous claims that his office had no involvement in the closures and forced him to join the chorus of outraged officials at all levels of government condemning the messages exchanged between one of his deputy aides and his two executives at the Port Authority.
Christie said in a terse statement Wednesday that he was “misled” by one of his staffers. He called the messages — which expressed delight over delayed school buses shuttling children to their first day of class and included taunts aimed at the Fort Lee mayor — “completely inappropriate” and “unacceptable.” He added, without any specifics, “people will be held responsible for their actions.”
There was no immediate indication that Christie had taken any action against the senior aide who sent an e-mail weeks before the lane closures that appeared to give a Port Authority executive approval to go ahead with a plan to exact revenge against the Fort Lee mayor.
“What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”As the Record further reports, here are the real life consequences of the Christie Administration's bullying tactics:
Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show...
On Sept. 9, the first day of the traffic paralysis, EMS crews took seven to nine minutes to arrive at the scene of a vehicle accident where four people were injured, when the response time should have been less than four minutes, he wrote.
In the words of Jay Z, it was all good just a week ago. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) was on the rise. He was re-elected by a 22 percent landslide in a blue state. His victory was supposed to be an indication of his ability to reach across party lines. After his re-election, the pundits began to talk about Christie being a top contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Apparently, such speculation was based on deception. His post-partisan appeal was simply a charade. Like the gangsters on HBO's Board Walk Empire, the Christie Administration intimidated Democrats and twisted arms to get votes. Christie is literally a big fat bully.
It looks like his rising star has crashed and exploded. His fleeting presidential ambitions died in the wreckage. It is over. Today, in the arena of politics, he is America's biggest loser. However, that is not enough. He should resign for allowing his staff to abuse their power.
As I said on Twitter, Christie is a prime example of what happens when power is placed in the wrong hands. Folks, this is why elections matter. This is why we must carefully evaluate all political candidates before voting.