Latest News & Current Events
Gov Christie apologizes for scandal and fires top aide
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized Thursday for the bridge lane-closure scandal that has swamped his administration and announced the firing of a top aide who tried to exact political revenge against a Democratic mayor.
Emails published Wednesday suggested that deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kellyworked with a port authority official to close lanes of the George Washington Bridge last September. The closures appear to have been designed to punish a local Democratic mayor who declined to back Christie's re-election.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote to Christie ally and Port Authority official David Wildstein, who replied “Got it.”
Christie said he was not even aware that his team had been seeking the endorsement of Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich.
"I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution," he said of the emerging political crisis during a press conference that stretched nearly two hours. "I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here."
Christie said he was "embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team," adding that Kelly has been dismissed effective immediately.
“I terminated her employment because she lied to me,” he said, later adding that he has not spoken to Kelly since Wednesday's revelations and that she was not "given the opportunity" to explain the lie.
"I am heartbroken that someone who I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust," he said.
The New Jersey governor also said that he has directed another Christie confidant involved in the fracas, Bill Stepien, to withdraw his consultancy for the Republican Governors Association and his bid for state party chairman.
The tough-talking Christie stated bluntly that he takes responsibility for the incident despite being "blindsided" by the news and "heartbroken" by the behavior of his staff.
"Ultimately, I am responsible for what happens under my watch, the good and the bad," he said.
While he dismissed a question about whether he considered resigning over the matter as "crazy," he indicated that he is willing to speak to law enforcement officials if necessary, saying "I have absolutely nothing to hide."
Christie, a Republican with designs on the White House in 2016, previously denied that he or his staff were involved in the lane closures, which prompted massive traffic gridlock on the first day of school.
On Thursday, he said he does not know the origin of the claim that the lane closures were the result of a valid "traffic study."
"I don’t know if this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study," he said.
The controversy shows no immediate sign of waning. On Thursday morning, Wildstein invoked the Fifth Amendment and did not answer questions on the matter at a state assembly hearing before its Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities committee. He appeared after his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to quash a subpoena to attend that hearing.
Federal officials say the Justice Department has received a request to investigate whether any laws were violated when the traffic lanes were closed. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is also looking into the Port Authority’s involvement in the matter.
The crisis is especially resonant because it cuts to the heart of the image Christie has cultivated, one of a bipartisan problem-solver and a plain-spoken political leader
Be the first to add your comments
Comment on this article
Login to submit a comment
What we offer
GajGal is an expanding community of mothers helping mothers. Our motto “Get a Job | Get a Life” is based on the belief that for mothers wanting to get back into the workforce, finding a job with “the right level” of flexibility, empowers working mothers to live life on their own terms and better control their own destiny.
GajGal aims to address this “new reality” through four core components:
- 1. Job Search and Matching tools to streamline finding the perfect fit for flexible work arrangements.
- 2. Access to Benefits that in the traditional work environment have been provided by full time employers. GajGal helps to provide a critical mass of members to ensure access to a range of benefits options that we are continually working to expand and improve on.
- 3. Working Mother Community to provide access to news, blogs and articles of interest and importance to working mothers and a social networking community that working mothers can interact with and draw on for support.
- 4. The Entrepreneur Zone is for mothers aiming to start their own business and expand on the concepts of working mothers helping working mothers succeed.
“Using your Benefits link made it easy to select from a wide range of health insurance offerings and narrow down the various plans available that best fit my needs. Being able to make a side by side comparison of the details further helped me make an informed decision on a plan with great rates. The application is swift and uncomplicated”
“ WOW this is a fantastic idea aimed at a true need. I have had a hard time preparing to go back to work after staying home with my two kids for the past 4 years. I am so excited to start adding my requirements and get started on the search. The Latest News and Benefits are an excellent idea. I would come here to read this even if I wasn't looking for a job right now”