Fort Lee Scandal and Governor Chris Christie
From September 9, 2013 to September 13, 2013, two lanes on the George Washington Bridge were closed. This caused traffic to move slower and prevented police, emergency and school vehicles from reaching their destinations. Before January 2014, all that was known was that this was a traffic study conducted by Springfield, New Jersey, whose Democratic mayor knew nothing about.
It is speculated that this may have involved New Jersey Governor Chris Christie because his staff was involved in this closure. As early as August 13, 2013, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, was revealed to have e-mailed David Wildstein, a senior official in the organization in charge of transportation between New York and New Jersey, about the closure of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Kelly stated “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” to which Wildstein responded “Got it.” Wildstein closed the bridge on September 9, telling bridge manager Robert Durando not to inform the police of anyone in Fort Lee because it would impact the results. Despite knowing the problems that were caused, this continued until September 13. Both Kelly and Wildstein, along with other members of Christie’s staff, were fired or resigned.
Christie is believed to have been involved in this, though he claims to have had no knowledge until after the closure of the bridge. On January 31, 2014, Wildstein provided new evidence, claiming that Christie was involved and knew about it in August. The reason for this involvement, he claims, is that Christie wanted revenge on the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Christie’s reelection as governor. During this scandal, this was seen in an exchange between Wildstein and an unknown person though to be Kelly. The unknown person texted “I feel badly about the kids.
I guess” to which Wildstein stated “They are the children of Buono voters.” Barbara Buono, who later lost the election, was the Democratic candidate for governor running against Chris Christie. The new evidence presented by Wildstein has not affected Christie, who denies involvement, but this may have defeated his speculated presidential bid in 2016. If Christie is found out not to have had involvement, he may still have a chance in 2016, however, but it is not probable according to Wildstein’s evidence.