New Photo Seemingly Undermines Christie Bridge Narrative
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s problem now is that every assertion and statement he made in press conferences about “Bridgegate” is going to be vetted, and tested against any new statement from others, or anything on the record. And he has now had part of his narrative seemingly undermined by The Wall Street Journal:
Gov. Chris Christie was with the official who arranged the closure of local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11, 2013 — the third day of the closures, and well after they had triggered outrage from local officials beset by heavy traffic.
It isn’t known what, if anything, Mr. Christie discussed with David Wildstein that day, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official was among the delegation of Mr. Christie’s representatives who welcomed him to the site of the World Trade Center for the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks there.
Christie spokesman Colin Reed said, “Of course, Governor Christie attended the September 11th ceremony as he has done every year since he took office. He had numerous interactions with public officials that morning, including representatives of the Port Authority. They were all there for one reason – to pay tribute to the heroes of 9/11.”
Mr. Wildstein did not respond to a request for comment through his attorney.
Also present with Mr. Christie that day were Bill Baroni, the authority’s deputy executive director, who was helping Mr. Wildstein manage the fallout from the closures among local officials, subpoenaed documents show. Also there was David Samson, the Port Authority chairman and close Christie ally, who has said he didn’t learn of the lane closures and traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., until an email from a New York port official ordered the lane closures reversed. Messrs. Samson and Baroni didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Christie addressed Mr. Wildstein in a news conference last week, saying he had not encountered him “in a long time.”
“I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election,” which was held Nov. 5, Mr. 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.”
His problem is that anything he says with certainty is going to be examined. And if it doesn’t hold up, it’ll be news. As his previous assertion didn’t hold up. But enough to totally sink him? Unlikely.
Andrew Sullivan’s view:
That follows the governor’s insistence that he could barely remember any serious interaction with Wildstein “for a long time”. That could still be true, depending on your definition of a long time, but it sure looks fishy to me. And it will, I presume, to potential primary voters.
One other bell that rang for me about this the other day. Why, I wondered, was it so important for Christie to get endorsements from Democrats in a campaign he was winning anyway in a landslide? Because it was really part of a presidential primary argument that only he, among the possible contenders, can deal with Democrats! So this was all part of scheming for the presidential nomination and nothing to do with New Jersey at all. Which makes it even more, well, calculated and icky.