Members of Gov. Chris Christie’s staff were found to have been involved with the George Washington Bridge lane closures based on email messages. Democratic Sen. Loretta Weinberg told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the governor’s apologies came too late.
“Well I would describe it as four months too late,” said Weinberg. “I find it really astounding that the governor could stand in front of the citizens of the state of New Jersey and claim that this is the first time he understood the magnitude of this problem. I’ve been going to Port Authority meetings for almost four months raising this subject. His two top appointees at the PA resigned because of this subject, a month or so ago. The executive director of the Port Authority did an email which said laws were broken here. This was in contradiction to every process known to the Port Authority and then you add to that the governor never thought to question anything up until now.”
Weinberg said that she remembers the initial reaction from the governor. She said that she and Assemblyman John Wisniewski were said to be fixated on the lane closures. After the lane closures occurred, Christie thought it was no big deal, according to Weinberg. She said she believes the idea didn’t come from Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly.
“Now we have a deputy chief of staff right in his own office, who it is difficult for me to believe that Bridget Kelly sat in her office one day and suddenly out of the sky, hitting her in the head was, ‘Oh I know, let’s create a traffic jam in Fort Lee,’” said Weinberg.
Weinberg said that the idea of the lane closures came from someone much higher and that it goes all the way to the governor because he had created an atmosphere around the people who work for him and that people think it’s acceptable behavior. There has not been any evidence to point out that Christie had any involvement, according to Weinberg, but that he is responsible for the atmosphere he has created.
During Christie’s press conference, the governor apologized for the lane closures, which Weinberg said was genuine but only because someone in his office was directly involved. Both David Wildstein and Bill Baroni resigned from their posts at the Port Authority, but Weinberg asked why the governor didn’t question them a month ago.
As for the emails between Kelly and Wildstein, Weinberg said that there had to have been some conversations before the emails otherwise Wildstein would not have known what the emails meant.
“I’m glad the governor apologized but I will add the footnote — four months too late,” said Weinberg.