Donald Trump’s son-in-law once praised a former ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for plotting the 2013 Bridgegate scandal.
In a Dec. 7, 2013 email obtained by the Washington Post, Jared Kushner expressed condolences to former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who had just resigned from his job as questions emerged about his role in orchestrating four days of gridlock on the George Washington Bridge.
“Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and wishing the best. For what it’s worth, I thought the move you pulled was kind of badass,” Kushner wrote Wildstein, according to the Post.
Wildstein ultimately accepted a plea deal with federal prosecutors over his role the lane closure scandal, which was intended to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for declining to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. Two other former allies of Christie were found guilty for their participation in the scheme.
While Christie has faced no charges for Bridgegate and long maintained that he had no knowledge of his aides’ plot, both prosecution and defense in the recent federal trial argued that he was informed about the lane closures as they were underway. The scandal has seriously damaged Christie’s political career, and reportedly contributed to Trump’s decision not to pick him as vice president and to have Vice President-elect Mike Pence replace him as head of his transition team.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka, had reason to cheer Christie’s downfall. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Christie’s office prosecuted Kushner’s father, Charles, for criminal tax evasion and witness tampering.
Jared Kushner took over his father’s real estate business while he was in jail, and purchased a political gossip site called PolitickerNJ.com, which was run anonymously by Wildstein before Christie appointed him as his “enforcer” at the Port Authority.
In a statement to the Post, Kushner Companies spokeswoman Risa Heller, said that Kushner’s email praising Wildstein for the illegal Bridgegate scheme was a “poorly worded way of Jared trying to cheer up an old friend.”