Chris Christie has denied all knowledge of the traffic nightmare now being referred to as “Bridgegate”, which closed down several lanes of traffic for four days last year between the George Washington Bridge and the town of Fort Lee on the command of a Christie staffer. Governor Christie even said he’s had no contact with one of the involved parties, David Wildstein, in quite a while, so there’s no way he knew beforehand about Wildstein’s plan to close the lanes. However, a photo published today by the Wall Street Journal shows Christie and Wildstein sharing company on the anniversary of 9/11 last year, which contradicts his story.
“I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election,” Christie said last week. “You know, I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I’ve had with David since he worked at the Port Authority. I did not interact with David.”
Christie has had no comment on the photo yet, but the public may be calling for an explanation soon.
“If it doesn’t contradict him, at the very least it means that we’ll have to know more about what the governor meant last week,” said journalist Ted Mann.
Christie claims he had no prior knowledge of the shutdown, which allegedly began when his Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly sent an email to Wildstein that read, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” after the mayor failed to back Christie for re-election. Christie fired Kelly after the emails went public earlier this month and issued a public apology.
“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,” he said in the statement.
On the heels of his apology came an investigation into a possible misuse of funds after he released expensive tourism ads starring his family, which may have been produced with money taken from Hurricane Sandy relief money. A spokesman for the governor released a statement about the investigation, saying, “The Stronger Than The Storm campaign was just one part of the first action plan approved by the Obama Administration and developed with the goal of effectively communicating that the Jersey Shore was open for business during the first summer after Sandy. Federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure with all federally allocated resources to ensure that funds are distributed fairly. We’re confident that any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping New Jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons