(Fort Lee, NJ) – Barely two months after winning a convincing re-election, Bridgegate swung into overdrive today, with Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) apologizing around the state while claiming innocence and ignorance.
Not only has the episode shortened what should have been a months-long political honeymoon, but the presumptive 2016 presidential candidate may have had his image irreparably tarnished due to the “abject stupidity that was shown” by his aides.
“Bridgegate” refers to the September 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, ordered by his aides Bridget Anne Kelly, Bill Stepien, and David Wildstein, in retribution against Mark “The Little Serbian” Sokolich (D), the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ, who did not support Christie in the November 2013 election.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote to Wildstein on August 13. “Got it,” wrote back Wildstein, who ordered the closures three weeks after the message was sent.
The lane closures created a traffic nightmare for hundreds of thousands, inconveniencing most and leading to the death of an elderly woman whose ambulance was caught in the traffic gridlock.
Christie claimed to be “embarrassed and humiliated” and “heartbroken” and “betrayed” by the episode, stating that he learned just yesterday morning about the scandal. Kelly, Stepien, and Wildstein no longer work for Christie.
And on the 101st anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s (R-CA) birthday, Christie proclaimed that he is “not a bully.”
In the process of proclaiming his innocence and ignorance, Christie said he thought there was going to be bridge work on the Union Avenue Bridge (also known as the Douglas O. Mead Bridge) which crosses the Passaic River between Passaic and Rutherford. The bridge, built in 1896, has repeatedly been hit by barges over its lifetime. Christie claimed he thought the bridge constructon would inconvenience tens, or perhaps hundreds, on a daily basis, instead of the tens of thousands that use the George Washington Bridge daily.