Before This Week, Christie Treated The Bridge Scandal As One Big Joke

Is it possible that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) admitted involvement in the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal weeks ago, and everyone just assumed he was kidding?

“Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there, I was in overalls and a hat,” Christie said at a press conference on Dec. 2, after being asked if he had anything to do with the lane closures, according to WYNC. “But I actually was the guy working the cones out there.”

Wednesday’s revelation that members of Christie’s inner circle discussed plans to close the lanes, which caused a multi-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., prompted Christie to issue a statement denouncing what he called “completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.” But in the weeks leading up the Wednesday’s document dump, Christie had downplayed the story, ridiculing the suggestion of any sort of scandal. On Dec. 2, after making the overalls comment, he rejected the story entirely.

“You really are not serious with that question,” Christie said.

It didn’t end there. Two weeks later, at another press conference, Christie again chastised reporters for pursuing the bridge story.

“I have a lot of things to do,” Christie said. “I know you guys are obsessed with this. I’m not, I’m really not. It’s just — it’s not that big a deal just because press runs around and writes about it both here and nationally. I know why that is and so do you. …Let’s not pretend that it’s because of the gravity of the issue. It’s because I am a national figure and anything like this will be written about a lot now. So, let’s not pretend.”

But wait, there’s more.

“You guys want to keep chasing it around, chase it around. It’s your business,” he told reporters. “In the meantime, when you all have been chasing around about this, I’ve been putting policies in effect that have lowered unemployment to a five-and-a-half-year lows. I’ve come to a compromise agreement on the DREAM Act with the Legislature. I’m putting forward nominations that will be considered in the lame duck session and I’m working with the Senate president and the incoming speaker on an agenda for the new year. Those things are much more important to the people of New Jersey than a couple of cones and a couple of lanes.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Muckraker
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: