What did New Jersey Governor Chris Christie know and when did he know it? Call it what you will - BridgeGate - or Bridgeghazi, BridgeNado, or A Bridge Too Far, or Bridge Over the River Hubris - all of those are monikers for the plot to close lanes of the George Washington Bridge to Fort Lee, New Jersey, apparently hatched by Christie staffers in retaliation for a lack of endorsement from the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee. And the whole controversy is casting a new pall on Christie's chances of being the "last best hope" of a non-Tea Party candidate in the GOP Presidential Primary in 2016.
From Huffington Post
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) deputy chief of staff was directly involved in a mean-spirited effort to create "traffic problems" for a mayor who declined to endorse the governor's reelection bid, according to newly released emails.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in an email on Aug. 13.
"Got it," replied David Wildstein, who was then one of Christie's top aides at the Port Authority, which is run jointly by New York and New Jersey.
A month later Wildstein did indeed create the traffic problems that Christie's office requested. He closed down two of Fort Lee's access lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, the busiest bridge in the country. The closures came on Sept. 9, the first day of school in Fort Lee, leading to massive traffic jams as bridge traffic backed up into local streets. As a result, police and emergency vehicles were delayed in responding to reports of a missing child and a cardiac arrest.
MAYOR SOKOLICH: Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into one toll booth….The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help, please. It’s maddening.
PERSON A: Is it wrong that I’m smiling?
PERSON A: I feel badly about the kids
PERSON A: I guess
WILDSTEIN: They are the children of Buono voters
***Click This Link to Read More Emails/Texts between Christie Staff Members Concerning the Bridge Closure at NorthJersey.com
I worked the cones, actually. ...I was in overalls and a hat. I was the guy working the cones.
~ Gov. Christie on December 2, 2013 mocking a reporter's question about the bridge situation in Fort Lee
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.
~ Statement from Chris Christie after emails of staff were revealed today
God Bless the Local New Jersey Newspapers who stuck with this story.
. . . We in the National Press owe them credit for opening this most amazing can of worms. Without them and their persistence in the face of stiff resistance, the nation might have never heard the words "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Without them it would have been just another local traffic jam story. Now it's anything but that.
~ Rachel Maddow on MSNBC
He is the worst example of bully and boss. And this string of e-mails clearly exposes a web of deceit, subterfuge and arrogance leading straight to Chris Christie.
~ Barbara Buono, Democratic candidate for Governor against Christie in 2012
Trenton, we have a problem.
~ Chris Matthews on Hardball
This is just a window into the way in which the Governorship has been run in New Jersey. And far from being a "small story" this is a thread that you pull to see how this guy operates, and how he would govern were he to become the President of the United States.
~ Howard Fineman on Hardball
You cannot close down the biggest bridge in the world for political retribution. You have intentionally put people in harm's way. You knew that before you did it. You knew that when Fort Lee called 20, 30, 40 times.
. . . This is about the lowest level of poltical venom I could ever make up. We’ve now ensured that we’re going to remain the butt of every political joke for the next 20 years on political misconduct.
. . . I've got to believe there's going to be an investigation to determine if this rises to the level of criminality.
. . . I'm nervous about future retribution. I want Fort Lee left alone.
~ Mark Sokolich, Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey
#GWBSCANDAL is not about traffic jams, it's about @GovChristie abuse of power. Using interstate assets for petty political revenge!
— Russell (@BlkPoliticSport) January 9, 2014
Chris Christie: It wasn't me! Plus, I'm outraged! http://t.co/W03YyW9XGt
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) January 8, 2014
If Chris Christie really had no knowledge of #bridgegate, why did he try so hard to block the investigation? http://t.co/DG36bmgGgg
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) January 9, 2014
If Christie approved this, it's a career-ender. Even if he didn't, it shows what kinds of people he'll appoint.Yikes. http://t.co/1r3W6cAXja
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) January 8, 2014
It's bizarre that so many conservatives- who hate Christie so much that they didnt even invite him to CPAC - are now rushing to his defense.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) January 9, 2014
The Bridges of Madison County Are Closed for a Traffic Study #Christiemovietitles— John Kane (@Tortured_Verse) January 9, 2014
Chris Christie's "traffic study" discovered that when you cause paramedic response times to double, people die. So there's that.— Devin (@devbost) January 9, 2014