“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge.
The facts counter Christie’s attempts to sidestep criticism.
First Christie joked over the bridge controversy and mocked reporters who questioned him about it.
Now the governor says he was misled and betrayed by members of his staff, calls their conduct outrageous and says he knew nothing about the politically-orchestrated bridge closures.
The controversy will hurt the governor’s credibility in his expected presidential run. It deeply hurts his image of being a leader who is beyond politics. It is also difficult to see Americans voters supporting a presidential candidate who has an image as a petty, mean-spirited bully.
More important than the political fallout will be the legal fallout that may follow. There are already reports that emergency vehicles were affected by the lane closing, endangering lives.
Christie’s intimidating style of governing New Jersey is why an investigation must go behind the state level and be investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)