Republican political operative Roger Stone came to the defense late Monday of David Wildstein, the former ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) who has since turned on the governor amid the growing bridge scandal.
Stone published a post on his blog, the Stone Zone, explaining how he had known Wildstein for more than 30 years and describing him as “the kind of man you’d send to close down a bridge.” He also pushed back against attempts by the governor’s office to discredit Wildstein.
“I have known David Wildstein since 1979 when I was sent to organize Ronald Reagan’s campaign in New Jersey. Although still in his teens, Wildstein was the national campaign manager for former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, then making his eight race for President,” Stone wrote.
In December, Wildstein resigned from his position as director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the George Washington Bridge, as questions about closure of lanes leading to the bridge mounted.
Through his attorney, Wildstein said last week that “evidence exists” that Christie was aware of the closures, despite earlier denials from the governor. Christie’s office responded with a scathing memo Saturday that included criticisms of Wildstein’s behavior dating back to his time in high school.
In his column, Stone said Christie specifically appointed Wildstein to the Port Authority job knowing he was a “brawler.”
“When I asked a high level PA Executive I knew how Wildsgtein (sic) got hired I was told ‘Chris Christie’. Then as now Wildstein is very bright, highly energetic and a likable political brawler. … He is a bomb thrower, a soldier, a loyalist, the kind of man you’d send to close down a bridge,” wrote Stone. “David Wildstein wasn’t a tumultuous lunatic when Chris Christie hired him as his eyes and ears at the New York New Jersey Port Authority. He’s only depicted that way today because he has the power to cause Chris Christie’s downfall.”