A former New Jersey governor thinks current Gov. Chris Christie (R) may have known more about the George Washington Bridge scandal plaguing his administration than he let on in a nearly two-hour press conference Thursday.
State Sen. Richard Codey (D), who served as governor after former Gov. Jim McGreevey’s (D) resignation, told Salon in an interview published Friday that he thinks there has “been a coverup” of the September lane closures on the bridge that gridlocked the borough of Fort Lee, N.J.
Christie said at the press conference that he didn’t know his administration was involved in the lane closures until Wednesday, when emails between his deputy chief of staff and one of his appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey discussing the lane closures became public.
“I think when he has had previous press conferences, it’s hard to believe he didn’t have some knowledge … in some way,” Codey told Salon. “After the stuff started coming out about some phony traffic study? Come on, you knew this was bullshit. You should’ve been saying this back then.”
Christie had brushed off the bridge scandal last year as “not that big a deal” and stood by his Port Authority appointee’s explanation that the lane closures were the result of a “traffic study.”
Although Codey told Salon he didn’t believe Christie ordered the lane closures himself, he said the governor may have created a “climate of fear” that encouraged taking retribution against political enemies.
“This climate of fear, this reign of terror has to — he has to take responsibility for it,” he said.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.