9 Times Chris Christie Denied Using a Bridge for Political Revenge

“I was the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. I actually was the guy working the cones out there.”

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/10999009153/sizes/c/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

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UPDATE: On Thursday, Christie 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.” 

On Wednesday morning, news outlets released emails that strongly imply that in September a top aide to New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie planned a dangerous traffic jam near the George Washington Bridge to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee. After over seven hours of silence, Christie—a possible presidential candidate in 2016—released a statement denying he had knowledge of the aide’s actions. Up until then, Christie and his aides made numerous statements claiming his office had no involvement in the scandal. Here’s the evolution of how Christie responsed to the scandal, dating back to September: 

  • “Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for the Christie campaign, said that any notion that Mr. Sokolich faced retribution for not endorsing the governor was ‘crazy.'” –The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2013 
  • ? “A spokesman for Christie, Michael Drewniak, said the governor had nothing to do with the lane closures: ‘The governor of the state of New Jersey does not involve himself in traffic studies,’ Drewniak said.” –The Star-Ledger (November 13, 2013) 
  • “I was the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. I actually was the guy working the cones out there. You really are not serious with that question.”? -Christie to WYNC (December 2, 2013) 
  • “Mr. Christie also said he believed Mr. Baroni’s [his top executive appointee at the Port Authority] explanation that the purpose of the closures was a traffic study. ‘I don’t think that Senator Baroni would not tell the truth,’ Mr. Christie said.” –The Wall Street Journal (December 13, 2013) 
  • “Christie said Friday the political drama surrounding the issue was ‘created and manufactured,’ further characterizing it as ‘a whole lot of hullabaloo.'” –CNN (December 13, 2013) 
  • “I don’t have any recollection of ever having met the mayor of Fort Lee in my four years…He was not somebody that was on my radar screen in any way–politically, professionally, or in any other way” –CNN (December 13, 2013) 
  • “When asked about that claims that the closures were ordered for political retribution, Christie said ‘absolutely, unequivocally not.'” Politico (December 13, 2013) 
  • “I know you guys are obsessed with this, I’m not. I’m really not. It’s just not that big a deal.” -Christie to Talking Points Memo (December 19, 2013)

And, finally, Wednesday:

  • “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.”? –Statement, January 8, 2013

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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