New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in hot water after newly disclosed e-mails suggested that one of his top aides along with his appointees at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orchestrated traffic jams on the country's busiest bridge last year as part of a vindictive plan to get back at Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. for not endorsing Christie at the polls.
In the email correspondence between Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and top Port Authority official David Wildstein from August, 2013, which has been made public and you can read for yourself below, Kelly says, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," to which Wildstein replies, "Got it."
As reported by the Washington Post, what they did was to order a last minute “traffic study”, which by the way, cost tax payers $60,000, to see whether bridge traffic flowed better with the access lanes closed on September 9, 2013, the first day of school in Fort Lee. The shutdown lasted four days and disrupted traffic on the George Washington Bridge that carries some 300,000 vehicles on an average day.
Christie responded by issuing a statement on Tuesday that reads:
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” he said. “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.”
Naturally, the incident has sparked outrage in the political world with New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak telling CNN's "New Day" that the closure was not only inconvenient for traffic, but also endangered people's lives by potentially slowing down emergency services.
"This crosses a line that is rarely crossed: People's lives were in danger," said Lesniak. "Endangering people's lives -- that's not politics. That's why the U.S. attorneys have to get involved."
While it remains to be seen if Christie had any knowledge on the matter, being that some of the people named in the emails are part of his team certainly reflects on Christie's choices as an aspiring political leader.Below you will find the email transcripts as well as a live video stream of Chris Christie's press conference that starts at 11:00 a.m. EST Thursday morning
Opening print-screen via YouTube/NJTV