FACT: Christie Spent Years Deflecting Blame for His Role in “Bridgegate”

After the infamous “Bridgegate” corruption scandal wreaked havoc on New Jersey drivers, Chris Christie blamed everyone but himself for his administration’s political revenge games. Christie STILL refuses to accept direct responsibility, again avoiding blame at his campaign launch event last week.

After a local mayor did not endorse Christie in his 2013 reelection campaign, lane closures on the George Washington Bridge were thought to be political retaliation from the Christie administration.

The Guardian: “Four days of lane closures caused havoc in Fort Lee, a New Jersey town of 35,000 that sits under the George Washington, which the world’s busiest bridge. The town has a Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, who had declined to endorse Christie for re-election as governor in November, raising speculation that the traffic misery had been inflicted as part of a personal vendetta against him. … documents, which were first extracted under subpoena by state legislators, takes ‘Bridgegate’, as the saga has inevitably been dubbed, from the level of a local inconvenience for Christie to a potentially major scandal that calls into doubt his political motivations and judgment.”

Instead of taking responsibility for his administration, Christie denied his and his staff’s participation and mocked public attention given to the scandal even as debates swirled over his own potential involvement.

The Guardian: “Christie has consistently denied that his staff had anything to do with the lane closures and the ensuing traffic snarl up, and insisted that the events on the bridge were instigated as part of a traffic study of the flow of vehicles over the bridge. And he has claimed the controversy has all been cooked up by Democrats in the state legislature seeking to gain points.”

MSNBC: “Months into a scandal-plagued second term, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the state’s Republican Party are employing a time-tested damage-control strategy: Blame the media. … Christie criticized reporters for asking about the traffic pile-up. ‘I know you guys are obsessed with this. I’m not, I’m really not,’ Christie said. ‘It’s not that big a deal just because press runs around and writes about it both here and nationally,’ he said at a news conference.”

CNN: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the September 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge while they were going on, federal prosecutors alleged in court Monday during the opening statements for their case against two former Christie confidantes. … The traffic headache was allegedly intentionally called for because Sokolich did not endorse Christie’s re-election. Baroni and Kelly allegedly ‘bragged’ to Christie about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Sokolich was not getting his calls returned, prosecutors said in court according to Reilly.”

New York Times: “Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was told about the George Washington Bridge lane closings — and that they were done to punish a mayor who had declined to endorse him for re-election — during a Sept. 11 memorial service two days after they began, a former ally who orchestrated the scheme testified in federal court here on Tuesday. Mr. Christie, the witness recalled, laughed at the news. … And after learning that the Fort Lee mayor’s persistent and urgent calls for help were being ignored, Mr. Christie said in a sarcastic tone, ‘I imagine he wouldn’t get his calls returned.’”

At his 2024 presidential campaign launch event last week, Christie once again failed to accept direct responsibility.

New York Times: “By the time Mr. Christie announced he was running for president in 2015, his candidacy had been hobbled by the so-called Bridgegate political revenge scandal that swamped his administration two years earlier. … Asked by an attendee on Tuesday about his biggest mistake in public life, he cited Bridgegate. Without accepting direct responsibility, he called it a ‘fraternity prank’ by people who reported to him.”