New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that he was outraged after learning — he said for the first time — that his administration purposely caused a traffic jam that clogged streets in a town at the foot of a major bridge into New York City to punish a mayor who refused to endorse him for re-election.
Emails unearthed by NorthJersey.com contradicted Mr. Christie’s claims that his administration had nothing to do with the unfolding George Washington Bridge scandal, and sent the tough-talking Republican into damage control.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” he said in a late-afternoon statement after the scandal percolated for most of the day. “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.”
Mr. Christie previously insisted that the traffic jams in Fort Lee and the surrounding New Jersey communities should be blamed on a mishandled traffic study.
The 51-year-old, though, acknowledged Wednesday that he had been duped and said those responsible would be held accountable.
“This will be his first real 2016 test for Christie, and how he handles it could be a real indicator of whether he is ready to make a serious bid for the White House moving forward,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Allegations of bare-knuckle politics may be par for the course in New Jersey, but it’s not something that the American electorate can easily wrap its head around, particularly in this era of highly partisan, petty politics.”
Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times