In the best possible light, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie built a top staff of lying thugs who threatened lives and safety to serve his political ends. If not, Christie is a lying thug himself.
Emails and text messages among his close aides made public Wednesday documented that in September they gleefully engineered George Washington Bridge lane closures to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for failing to endorse their boss’ reelection.
Local officials say the gridlock they caused delayed ambulances in responding to four calls, including one involving an unconscious 91-year-old woman who later died.
Christie’s presidential ambitions are all but kaput, as he will be lambasted and lampooned as a man of low character and horrible judgment — again viewing him in the most favorable way.
The Port Authority’s sudden, unannounced closing of bridge entrance lanes produced hours-long backups for four days. They ended only after Executive Director Patrick Foye discovered the shutdowns, which were later traced to rogue orders issued by Christie PA appointee David Wildstein, a high school buddy, and to a cover-up by Bill Baroni, Christie’s top person at the bistate agency.
For months, responsibility remained clouded. During that time, Christie made light of the charges. He joked that the press was suggesting he had moved traffic cones personally. Last month, he described the affair as “not that big a deal.” He supported Baroni’s story that the lane closures were part of a traffic study.
His aides’ communications, made public Wednesday, put the lie to that.
Those emails show what happens when people let political partisanship control their values.
Christie responded, finally, to the release of those emails yesterday by declaring his innocence and his profound disappointment in his inner circle, which had--according to Christie, now--apparently closed lanes on the GWBridge for FOUR days behind Christie's back. He was shocked, shocked to discover yesterday how many of his staff were involved.
Is it possible for Christie to bounce back after this? Can he run for president? Dogcatcher?