So, have you heard what’s going on in New Jersey?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied any involvement in a political payback scheme carried out by some of his top aides on Wednesday, saying the whole thing was “inappropriate and unsanctioned.”
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said in a statement. “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,” he added.
The emails released Wednesday showed that Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, deliberately plotted to wreak havoc on Fort Lee, N.J., once it became clear that the borough’s mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, wasn’t going to publicly back Christie in his reelection bid.
“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 officials at the Port Authority, which is run jointly by New York and New Jersey. Wildstein resigned last month.
Actually, it gets worse:
The emails point to clear political motives for the closures, and the officials seem almost giddy at the problems they create.
At one point, Wildstein received a text message from an unknown sender — the emails are partially redacted — saying, “Is it wrong that I’m smiling.”
“No,” replied Wildstein. When the other person added, “I feel badly about the kids. I guess,” Wildstein reminded them that their parents are probably Democrats anyway.
“They are the children of Buono voters,” said Wildstein, referring to Democrat Barbara Buono, who unsuccessfully challenged Christie in the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election.
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.
In at least two of those instances, response time doubled, noted EMS coordinator Paul Favia, who documented those cases in a Sept. 10 letter to Mayor Mark Sokolich, which The Record obtained.
Chris Christie is a vindictive control freak. There is not one single person in New Jersey who believes him when he denies having known about this. There is no way very senior people in the administration cooked this up and executed it without his knowledge. If concrete evidence turns up that he did know, then he will be forced to resign. Regardless, he will not be a serious Presidential candidate in 2016. He is just another in a long line of potential Republican Party saviors who has crashed and burned. Good riddance. He’s a terrible human being and, more importantly, a terrible governor of New Jersey.
Incidentally, traffic on the George Washington Bridge is really bad under normal circumstances. It’s one of only three crossings between Northern New Jersey and Manhattan (the other two being the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.) I grew up in central New Jersey, and periodically we would want to drive into New York. It was all but unthinkable that we would take the bridge.
It is hard to imagine the depths of depravity that it takes to undertake something like this. Or to joke about hurting kids on the grounds that, statistically speaking, most of their parents voted for the other candidate. It’s equally hard to imagine seasoned political pros forgetting the first rule of e-mail: Never put anything in an e-mail that you would not be happy to see made public.