Chris Christie 'Embarrassed' By Staffers, Traffic Scandal

New Jersey Govenor Chris Christie fires his chief of staff over his office's invovlement in a traffic jam.

Chris Christie 'Embarrassed' By Staffers, Traffic Scandal
Flickr / Gage Skidmore

It's already dubbed "Bridgegate," everyone, and we haven't heard the last of it, at least as far as Republican New Jersey governor and possible White House hopeful Chris Christie is concerned.

Christie held a nearly two-hour press conference about a traffic-jam scandal of epic proportions on the George Washington Bridge. 

"It happened on the first day of school. Cars were bumper to bumper, emergency vehicles delayed. All apparently in an act of political payback." (Via ABC)

Critics have said the jam was an act of retribution toward Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who did not endorse Christie in his gubernatorial reelection campaign.  Christie, of course, denied he or any of his staff would do something like that, until... Boom goes the dynamite. 

On Wednesday, The Record broke a slew of emails and text messages between Christie's staffers, advisers and the Port Authority. Let's take a look.

Christie's chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, wrote to David Wildstein, a Port Authority official, "It's time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." To which Wildstein replied, "Got it." 

That's not all.

One text message exchange reads, "Is it wrong that I am smiling?" 


Then the trapped school busses are brought up. "I feel badly about the kids." 

To which the reply is, "I guess."

The dust isn't even close to settling yet, but Christie, a potential GOP presidential candidate, announced Thursday he had fired his chief of staff and severed ties with other advisers once evidence came to light tying his office to the traffic jam.

At Thursday's press conference, the governor said he is embarrassed and humiliated by some of the members of his team, maintaining that he had been misled by key senior staffers. 

"I am heartbroken that someone who I had allowed to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust." (Via BBC)

It's not clear how this could affect his expected White House run. Christie's reputation often walks the line between political aggressiveness and political bullying. This type of vindictively brash scandal could nudge him even closer to "bully."

Though — interestingly — the LA Times' Alana Semuels notes Christie was uncharacteristically "quiet and polite" Thursday during the presser. 

Still, Politico quotes an unnamed Republican who has worked with Christie as saying, "All these people who feel like he’s bullied and he’s put them in a horse-collar hold … will feel free to say, 'See, I told you so.'"

Christie, though, is owning his callousness for now, telling a reporter, “I am not a focus-group tested or blow-dried candidate ... or governor.”