“I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey… I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team…I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution…I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts may ultimately uncover…The buck stops with me…I accept full responsibility…”
With those words a contrite New Jersey Governor Chris Christie began what will certainly be a long journey toward repairing his image as governor and his candidacy for the presidency.
In an extraordinary 107 minute press conference the governor addressed the scandal surrounding the lane closures of the George Washington Bridge. Most politicians would have given a statement and hurried off having taken no questions. To his credit, Christie stood there for the better part of two hours patiently answering everything the press threw at him. When the presser was finished Christie went to Fort Lee, NJ to apologize personally to the mayor and residents of the town that was shut down for a week by the lane closures.
This was a side Chris Christie never before seen by the public. The usually self assured governor seemed genuinely stunned that such a callus and egregious event could have been orchestrated by his most trusted staff members.
From our perspective the governor handled the situation as well as could be expected given the circumstances. But as much as Christie would like to put this in his review mirror there are still potholes in the road ahead.
The governor made several emphatic statements during his press conference about dates, times and places. Today the state assembly will release almost 1,000 pages of documents related to the case. If these documents provide any evidence that contradict the governor’s statements he could not only find himself facing the end of his political career but the possibility of civil and even criminal charges.
And we have yet to hear from the parties that perpetrated “Bridge Gate.” David Wildstein appeared before the state assembly and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. Bridgett Anne Kelly has yet to speak to the press. Either of these key players could have facts that undermine the governor’s protestations of innocence.
As for Christie’s his run for the presidency…let’s just say it is a long way to 2016.
We did find it interesting that not one Republican politician…not even the Chairman of the Republican Party…has come out in support of the presumptive frontrunner for the Party’s nomination.
Their silence is deafening.