Chris Christie shut down traffic, endangered EMT response, to punish mayor who voted for other guy

In a rather large story brewing this morning, there is increasing evidence that Republican governor of New Jersey, and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, Chris Christie intentionally shut down traffic in a city in New Jersey in order to punish the local mayor who didn’t support his re-election.

As a result, EMT response to a missing child and a heart attack victim were delayed.  Even after being informed of the EMT problems his shutdown was causing, an angry Governor Christie refused to lift his vindictive blockade.

In a series of emails obtained by TPM, Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridge Anne Kelly discusses the closures weeks before they occurred, and appears to suggest that the closures were politically motivated.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote to David Wildstein, a Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. “Got it,” Wildstein replied.

TPM notes that because the emails were heavily redacted, it’s difficult to determine the exact motivation behind the words.

George Washington Bridge, via Shutterstock

George Washington Bridge, via Shutterstock

Terkel at HuffPo has more:

A month later Wildstein did indeed create the traffic problems that Christie’s office requested. He closed down two of Fort Lee’s access lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, the busiest bridge in the country. The closures came on Sept. 9, the first day of school in Fort Lee, leading to massive traffic jams as bridge traffic backed up into local streets. As a result, police and emergency vehicles were delayed in responding to reports of a missing child and a cardiac arrest.

The closures came just weeks after Fort Lee’s mayor, Democrat Mark Sokolich, had appeared to decline to endorse Christie’s reelection bid.

We’ve written before about Gov. Christie’s oversized and out-of-control teenage temper-tantrums.  There’s a nastiness, a vindictiveness, to the man that always seems to be bubbling just under the surface.  And it comes out far too often to simply be a fluke.  At a fundamental level, there’s something wrong with this guy.  And while the whole Tony Soprano, “I’ll kill your mother”-thing might go over well in Jersey-Shore-land, in the rest of the country we expect a certain level of maturity, and mental stability, from our presidents, regardless of party.

Let me quote at length my earlier article detailing Christie’s explosive temper.

The woman in question was a teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, who had been protesting Christie’s campaign rally (he’s up for re-election), when she asked Christie why he’d called New Jersey Schools “failure factories.”


Christie erupted at the woman, calling her “you people,” and things went pretty much downhill from there.

Dave has the rest of the story, so you can click through to read all of it on his site, but what I wanted to focus on was Christie’s temperament, and how these kind of gaffes can ruin an election.

As one person wrote on Facebook, the picture doesn’t say 1,000 words, it says just one, “dick.”  So I started looking around YouTube to see if this was an ongoing thing with Christie, the temperament problem, and it is.  And while I’m sure the Republicans will try to play this up as “Christie’s a straight-talking tough guy,” he actually comes across as a bit of a bully.

I’ll go through a best (worst) videos below, but I had to quote this one from Christie speaking a few years back to a questioner he didn’t like:

“And you know what, and you know what, and you know what, let me tell you this, you know what, it’s people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country.”

Get a mirror, buddy.

In this first video, we have Christie responding snippily to a teacher who is upset about how much teachers get paid:

Rita Wilson: You’re not compensating me for my education, and you’re not compensating me for my experience.

Gov. Christie: Well you know what? Then you don’t have to do it.

That might work in New Jersey, but if Christie pulls that on the national campaign trail, he’s going to lose the women vote, and more.  Watch:

Next, I found a video of Christie responding to a reporter’s question about calling back the legislature. Christie calls the reporter “stupid” and an “idiot.”

Of course, “idiot” might be better than what he called one female protester during a rally: “sweetheart.”  Note to Christie: Try calling Hillary “sweetheart” in 2016 and see how long you keep your jewels.

Then we have Christie responding to a question from a mom who’s concerned that Christie is cutting public school funding while sending his kids to private schools. Christie’s answer: “It’s none of your business.”

You can bet that the Republicans are going to try to claim (spin) Christie’s temper an asset. And while that may work with the Tea Party crowd, I think Christie is going to have a problem with middle of the road Americans who have had just about enough of people who raise their voices and yell and scream and are dividing this country.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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