Recently published emails reveal that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office created traffic mayhem by shutting down a bridge in order to get back at a political rival.
The emails and text link a Christie aide to the closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge back in September. Apparently, the gridlock was intended to punish Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who endorsed Christie’s opponent in the 2012 gubernatorial race.
In one email, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy on Christie’s senior staff, told a Port Authority official that it was “[t]ime for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
A few weeks later two of three traffic lanes to the George Washington Bridge – a major crossing to New York City – were shut for several days, causing major traffic jams – especially in the New Jersey borough of Fort Lee.
As for the school busses full of children sitting in traffic all morning, officials had no problem with it since “they are the children of Buono voters” – referencing Christie’s election opponent, Democrat Barbara Buono.
Although Democrats suspected that the September lane closures was meant as punishment for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie in his re-election effort, Christie and Port Authority officials insisted the decision was part of a poorly planned traffic study. However, the newly released emails suggest otherwise. While the documents don’t directly implicate Christie with the lane closures, they make it clear that his staff were involved.
Christie, who is considered to be a top Republican presidential candidate for 2016, has previously denied that he or his staff had any role in the bridge incident and claims he knew nothing about the allegations of political retribution against the Mayor of Fort Lee – which means that Christie is either clueless or a big liar. Although the two may not be mutually exclusive…
Update: Chris Christie has issued a statement:
“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.”