If Wildstein has been horrible since high school, why did Christie hire him?

Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is now alleging that his appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Scott Widlstein, was a horrible person since high school.

If that’s true, and everybody has always known it, then why did Christie appoint Wildstein to the port authority in the first place?

Wildstein, you’ll recall, is one of the two former associates that Christie, who was until now the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, is trying to blame for the scandal surrounding the alleged revenge-closing of several lanes of the George Washington Bridge to punish a local mayor who didn’t support Christie’s re-election bid last year.

Wildstein is increasingly speaking up against Christie, alleging that Christie knows more than he’s claiming.

Last Friday, Wildstein told the NYT that, contrary to Christie’s claims, the governor did in fact know about the lane closures as they were happening (Christie had repeatedly claimed that he did not know about the closures until after the lanes were reopened). Lending credence to Wildstein, a few hours after the allegation Christie changed his story and admitted he knew about the closures as they were happening, and had thus apparently lied to the public, and investigators, for months.


Christie, in turn, is now trying to undercut Wildstein’s credibility.  The only problem for Christie is that by undercutting Wildstein’s credibility, Christie is undercutting his own.  You see, if Wildstein was such a bad hire, then why did Christie hire him in the first place?

In a scathing indictment of Wildman, Christie’s office sent reports an email last Friday night detailing what a horribe, untrustworthy person Wildstein is, and always has been.  Christie claims that Wildstein had a “tumultous” career and was “unproductive.”  Christie goes on to say that Wildstein was once a – gasp! – “blogger.”

But the weirdest claim is where Christie quotes Wildstein’s high school social studies teacher as saying the young man was untrustworthy in class.  Seriously?

Here’s an extended snippet from the email:

In David Wildstein’s past, people and newspaper accounts have described him as “tumultuous” and someone who “made moves that were not productive.”

As a 16-year-old kid, he sued over a local school board election. He was publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior. He had a controversial tenure as Mayor of Livingston He was an anonymous blogger known as Wally Edge He had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people’s names without telling them

Thomas L. Adams, Wildstein’s Council Running Mate: “It Was A Tumultuous Time.” (Shawn Boburg, “Ex-Blogger Is Governor Christie’s Eyes, Ears Inside The Port Authority,” Bergen Record, 3/3/12)

Robert Leopold, Livingston’s former Democratic Mayor: Wildstein Was “A Political Animal” Who “Frightened People.” (Shawn Boburg, “Ex-Blogger Is Governor Christie’s Eyes, Ears Inside The Port Authority,” Bergen Record, 3/3/12)

“He Was A Very Contentious Person.” (Shawn Boburg, “Ex-Blogger Is Governor Christie’s Eyes, Ears Inside The Port Authority,” Bergen Record, 3/3/12)

Wildstein Created “Culture Of Fear” Within Port Authority. “He and others referred to a ‘culture of fear’ within the authority, reflected in testimony from other authority officials about their reluctance to report to Mr. Foye or others what they considered an ‘odd’ request from Mr. Wildstein—to abruptly realign lanes that had been in place for decades and to tell no one about it.” (Ted Mann, “Port Authority Chief Testifies in George Washington Bridge Flap,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/9/13)

Christie concludes his email by saying:

“Bottom line — David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein.”

Then why did Christie hire Wildstein in the first place?  Not very presidential.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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67 Responses to “If Wildstein has been horrible since high school, why did Christie hire him?”

  1. BillFromDover says:


  2. RyansTake says:

    Wildstein was hired to be an enforcer at the PA. He was hired *because* he was so horrible — and Christie got exactly what he made the state pay for when inventing an entirely new position for Wildstein at the PA. He just didn’t expect Wildstein’s hiring to blow up in his face, because Christie has one of the world’s largest hubris.

  3. RyansTake says:

    Bottom line — Chris Christie will do and say anything to protect Chris Christie. And he’s becoming increasingly desperate.

  4. karmanot says:

    “I did not have traffic study with that woman!”

  5. Nathanael says:

    Christie and Lt. Gov. Guadagno *both* belong in prison. They need to be impeached *simultaneously*.

  6. Lawerence Collins says:

    He belongs in JAIL! Christie, that is! Typical GOP. Koch whore!

  7. MyrddinWilt says:

    The date and time at which he was unaware of the ‘traffic study’ keeps changing.

    But the smoking gun is obviously going to be a memo from Christie to Wildstein asking the Port Authority to look into the toll booth allocation on the bridge. If you parse what Christie said, he currently only denies knowing about the traffic study.

  8. therling says:

    Anyone who’s read Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer-winning novel, loosely based on Huey Long, ought not to be surprised at any of this.


    Or at least, seen the movie. Not the Sean Penn remake, but the 1949 version with Broderick Crawford’s Oscar-winning performance, in which he eerily resembles Christie.

  9. david says:

    Waouh amazing comparaison! sign http://cigaretteelectronique.com/

  10. If Wildstein has been horrible since high school, why did Christie hire him?”
    Um, um, as a favor to his mom?

  11. HelenRainier says:

    Under whose name was this e-mail sent out? Was it Christie himself, or one of his aides? Either way, it was a very dumb move. Opens up all kinds of new avenues to investigate and to rip apart. Sheesh.

  12. Badgerite says:

    His response smells of desperation. All the email previously released indicate that Wildstein was following orders issued by Christie’s staff when he had those traffic lanes closed.

  13. AnthonyLook says:

    The parallels between Watergate and Bridgegate are becoming surreal. It’s is becoming more probable that Christie’s involvement is going to be with the quagmire of the fake ” traffic study” COVER UP that is increasingly looking like Christie had his hands in. If he ordered the shut down of the lanes, he may have covered his bases good enough not to be implicated, but; the COVER UP looks like the Wildstein smear Christie email—amateurish and over the top, both appear sloppy, desperate and ill conceived.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s called throwing someone under the bus. Repubs are friends only until they can stop serving each other.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It seems like a really creepy psychological attack, attempting to remind someone they’re a “bad boy” for something they did as a kid. What does it have to do with his actions today? The bullying continues.

  16. karmanot says:


  17. RepubAnon says:

    He acts more like Bluto – pity he doesn’t have a beard…

  18. BeccaM says:

    But only if you strip away every positive character trait Jackie Gleason had — and he had them a’plenty. Starting with having a sense of humor.

  19. MyrddinWilt says:

    There was also that shifty look in his piggy little eyes as he said it.

    I have seen that look before. And every time the person giving it has turned out to be telling a rehearsed lie.

    Christie obviously thought he was getting away with the scam when he gave that interview. And why not when the press had given him pass after pass. I’m with Digby on Christie, those videos of him berating women showed a bully and a misogynist pig. But the editors of the local newspapers loved him.

  20. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    Looks like Jackie Gleason, acts like Reginald van Gleason. :p

  21. BeccaM says:

    Realizing Christie had emphasized that very point in his first “I know nothing!” presser was an epiphany for me, and is what convinced me it was about the development project all along.

    Christie expressing irritation and disgust over those three lanes, which according to the legitimate traffic flow studies was exactly the correct number to have for the 25% of GWB upper deck traffic passing through the 12 toll booths on that level. I mean, really — that’s what you say when you want the message out there that it’ll be hard getting two and from Fort Lee. If not now, then at some point in the future when Christie’s state of ‘en-saucement’ causes him to order the lane closures be resumed and made permanent.

    I think during that first interview, he still thought he could not only get away with brushing the whole thing under the rug, but whatever corrupt deals he and his cronies were setting up for the Fort Lee development were deemed yet to be viable. But only if he scared off the original investors.

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Texon says:

    Chris Christie will say anything to save Chris Christie.

  24. MyrddinWilt says:

    Its the continuation of the claim that Fort Lee shouldn’t have three lanes that makes me think that the mob property deal theory is the real motive.

    When Christie made that statement, the election was long past. Why threaten to shut the lanes again if the only motive was to bully the mayor of Fort Lee?

    I think Christie’s target was the property development all along. Either the mob was upset that Fort Lee was developing ‘their’ plot of land or Christie thought he should get to wet his beak or whatever. But the fact that Christie saw the press queries following Wildstein’s resignation as an opportunity to press home his attack shows that he didn’t think the gig was up. Which means that they was something wrong with the press theory.

    We knew then what Christie did and how so the only thing that could have been wrong is the motive.

  25. lynchie says:

    With Christie you better have a stick and at least a double flush

  26. pappyvet says:

    Why? Well because he’s been a horrible person since high school.

  27. Hue-Man says:

    Reminds me of the Borscht Belt classic: “The food was awful and the portions were too small.”

  28. Nathanael says:

    Christie seems just this side of Toronto’s Rob Ford, at this point.

    Have you looked into the sordid history of the Ford family of drug dealers? Oh my God.

  29. BeccaM says:

    I for one am incredibly grateful the possibility of a President Christie is close to nil at this point. He would’ve made Nixon look like a Boy Scout.

  30. karmanot says:

    Good catch!

  31. karmanot says:

    You win with a full flush on that one H.

  32. karmanot says:

    But you make a most erudite skunk dc!. We are all waiting for the legal hook and I suspect it will be coming soon. :-)

  33. karmanot says:

    Depends on the definition of what closed is. I did not have sex with that bridge after it was closed!

  34. Richard says:

    Looks like its going to be an every person for themselves dog and pony show. I would think Christie would know better than to be saying how horrible his school pal is after he gave him a cush job at 150K a year…… with no job description…. somethings starting to smell rotten….

  35. Naja pallida says:

    …because Christie is the same kind of horrible person, and in order to secure power, he surrounded himself with useful patsies. People who think like him, act like him, and do as he says without any complaint or worry that some kind of morals or ethics might get in the way. People who he could easily blame and dispose of at a moment’s notice, and nobody would doubt just how horrible they are because they have made a career out of demonstrating it.

  36. dcinsider says:

    Goodness, let’s not get our panties in a bunch here. I was making an observation. I still think it’s a bit of a red herring. The real issue is whether or not he knew of the retaliatory nature of the closing.

    C’mon, even if he lied, rather than misstating the facts, he did not do it under oath in a deposition like another politician we all know that is well celebrated here.

    Christie is a bully, and I am very pleased to see him getting clobbered, so relax, I’m not trying to be the skunk at your garden party, I’m just trying to understand how this error/lie is the death of Christie. I don’t see it.

  37. The Bergen Record reporter said on Friday that he asked Christie, point blank, in December, if he was claiming he didn’t even know about the bridge lane closure while it was happening, and Christie told him that’s right. The reporter was shocked by Christie’s claim on Friday that now, suddenly, he WAS aware that the lanes were closed while they were still closed. Christie changed his story.

  38. AnthonyLook says:

    TRANSLATON: Christie has done something he is preparing to DENY. Something BIG. That character destruction essay of Wildstein, is beyond overboard, it reeks of suspicion. Just what is it that Wildstein HAS on jolly old Saint Chris, why is Christie in such a tizzy. I think this embellishment of assault backlashed. SOMETHING is causing the Christie team to smell desperate.

  39. BeccaM says:

    I found it exceedingly creepy that Christie’s email cited not one but two high school-era criticisms of Wildstein’s character — for a man born in 1961. We’re talking about a guy who graduated high school somewhere around 1979. And we’re supposed to care that one of Wildstein’s teachers allegedly didn’t like him more than three decades ago?

  40. Unclechuck49 says:

    So Christie knew this about Wildstein being a creep and he still hired him and gave him $150,000 a year with no job description. So much for leadership.

  41. BeccaM says:

    No, Pete’s correct: At the beginning, Christie denied vehemently and repeatedly during that first press conference that he knew anything until the closure was long over.

    I don’t think you’re quite getting how that ridiculous assertion was the thread that once tugged, began unraveling the entire tapestry of Christie’s lies about what he knew and when he knew it. Ever since then, he’s been walking back in time his claimed awareness of the traffic jams and their cause.

    And yes, this isn’t something we need dig at our memories to be ‘pretty sure’ about. Christie is right there, on video tape, and in numerous reports and transcripts. Just Google “Governor Christie + ‘sauced'” and you’ll find the press conference where Christie uses the exact words Pete quoted.

    Christie’s first statements were to deny knowing anything, and to flat out make a supporting (and ridiculous) assertion that Fort Lee shouldn’t have three toll lanes for its on-ramps — which suggested to me that Chris Christie knew all along about the bogus traffic study and what it was supposed to accomplish. Moreover, he trotted out his patented “blame the victim for deserving to be beaten” strategy to try to slander Fort Lee and its mayor.

  42. PeteWa says:

    you just can’t take being wrong, can you?
    I gave you a direct QUOTE.
    his words.
    “I’m pretty sure he…”
    yeah, great.
    I’m pretty sure too, and I remember the shifting, changing story he provided.
    you know, what other people call lies, and you call “might be contradictory”.

  43. BillFromPA says:

    So either Christie orchestrated the lane closing himself or he was done in by associates who are self serving political thugs who lied to his face, who he hired? Which is worse?

  44. KipC says:

    Who cares what anybody’s high school social studies teacher thinks about anything? My high school teachers were all creepy, ultraconservative losers. Using high school teachers from your teenage years as “authority figures” shows how stuck in his juvenile past Big Boy is. He’s done.

  45. BeccaM says:

    I know what you mean. Like Spocko, I figured going after Wildstein’s motives was a given. But really — high school? They had to go there?

    And moreover, didn’t stop to think or nobody told them, “Hey, you gotta be careful how hard you kick your intended scapegoat, or else people are going to ask the logical question, ‘If you knew all along he’s such a dishonest, rotten dickweed, why’d you hire him in the first place?'”

    Back during the Romney campaign, people kept wondering why Romney and his people kept doing the stupidest things. At the time, I insisted it was because they thought they were always the smartest ones in the room and would not listen to objective outside advice. I think we’re seeing the same thing here, only it’s Christie calling the shots and letting his barely coherent rage lead the way.

  46. dcinsider says:


    I re-read John’s links to see if I was mis-remembering what he said before I posted. He made a few statements in that press conference that might be contradictory, but I’m pretty sure he knew the lanes were closed when they were closed, since the whole state was talking about it. I still don’t see this as such a smoking gun. The real question, I suppose, is when exactly did you first hear about, how did you receive the news, did you ask any questions, and when did you first learn of your office’s involvement.

    I’m not sure any of those questions were clearly answered.

    Listen, I can’t stand the guy, but if you want to hang him politically, you better have a very strong rope. Right now, there a still a few threads missing.

  47. PeteWa says:

    “not to defend Christie”
    except that’s what you did.

    Here’s what Christie himself said:
    “I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything
    about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over,” he
    said. “And even then, what I was told was that it was a traffic study.”

    so let’s recap:
    on your first defense of Christie (that he learned about the closing after the first day) – wrong.
    on your second claim (that he had no knowledge of the closures) – again, wrong.

    your concern is touching, though.

  48. dcinsider says:

    Not to defend Christie, but it was my understanding he claims to have learned of the closure after the first day, and was aware of the closures for all the days the lanes were closed, but unaware of his office’s involvement in the situation.

    He never denied knowing about the lane closures themselves, I mean how could he, it was all over the news at the time.

    I don’t think this is the bombshell everyone says it is.

    I do agree, however, that the hiring itself is hilarious, given how “untrustworthy” this guy was, Christie appoints him to a plum job at the authority. The ONLY people who get those jobs are friends of the Governor, real friends, and fundraisers, not someone he once knew in high school.

  49. Even a turd can float to the top.

  50. MyrddinWilt says:

    How does Wildstein’s personal honesty bear on an email from the Governor telling him to make Fort Lee suffer to punish ’em for voting for Bueno?

    The Christie folk are assuming that there is no evidence beyond Wildstein’s word. But its likely that the paper trail is a lot longer and goes all the way back to the Governor.

    The high school thing is just bizarre. Thats not an argument, that is something that Christie must have ordered the PR people to put in. Because they would have to be fucking incompetent to write it otherwise.

    This is the worst nightmare of any PR flack. Its when the client steps in and meddles in a situation that is already bad. That or the PR flack really hates Christie and wants to see him swing.

  51. MyrddinWilt says:

    Christie’s recent behavior is so very typically GOP. He does not think about the long game at all. He seems to think that you can win the war by winning each battle as it comes. He has absolutely zero strategic sense.

    After that two hour press conference, lots of people were telling me that they were convinced he was clean because he wouldn’t have smacked down the fired aides the way he did if they had anything on them. It seemed like such a stupid thing to do if he was guilty. But Christie was only trying to make it through the press conference.

    If Christie was smart long term thinking he would have never closed the toll lanes onto the bridge in the first place. It was obviously going to be noticed. It was obviously going to hurt Christie far more than any benefit that the Mayor’s endorsement or money from the mob for blocking the development might have brought.

    We don’t have absolute proof of Christie’s involvement but he is the only person with a motive for ordering the bridge closed and his claim that he didn’t know about the traffic jam caused by his deputy chief of staff is utterly unbelievable.

    Now Christie is trying to make it through the week by attacking Wildstein’s credibility. He obviously isn’t thinking about the effect the statements he makes this week are going to have on the process in two weeks time or a month or a year. He is only thinking days or hours ahead.

    And he is also losing his top staff and it is going to be hard to find replacements. The only people who are going to be willing to work for him in his current situation are going to be idiots or people who can demand he keeps completely out of their portfolio. So I don’t expect his presentation to improve. And the longer he clings to the delusion that he can somehow wriggle free from the mess and launch a bid for the WH, the more stupid stuff he is going to say that make his legal situation worse.

  52. milli2 says:

    John, stop asking such reasonable, common sense questions.

  53. HolyMoly says:

    I was thinking along similar lines, but I failed to say so in my last paragraph. You kind of elaborated on it for me (thanks!).

    As far as having an attorney who persuades Wildstein to keep quiet, I’ll add a little bit of incentive, because I believe he would have needed a little more than persuasion to take the fall. Throw a tidy sum of money his way to keep quiet and take the rap. He spends a few years in the tank, while his family (if he has one) is well taken care of. When he gets out, he’s got a cool mill in his pocket.

    The only other alternative is to threaten to crush him and his family if he talks. That only goes so far, since ex-Gov. Christie’s tentacles don’t extend beyond NJ’s borders (unless he became president, which seems unlikely now). His family could simply pull up stakes and move to NY or PA or wherever.

    Apparently none of that happened, or was ineffective in persuading Wildstein to keep mum. If there was any sort of “deal,” investigators/prosecutors seem to have been able to come up with one that’s a tad more palatable. Maybe immunity, maybe reduced time in a low-security facility with cable and conjugal visits.

    We can thank our lucky stars that most criminals are not masterminds at all.

  54. Glenn I says:

    I understand the Port Authority is a prime patronage reward. Didn’t Christie want in those 6-figure jobs people who were helpful to him in the past – and would be reliably so in the future? Sure, you can make a mistake and hire somebody for just about any job you later have to fire but for these jobs? really? Surely these jobs – basically big pots of money – were jobs that were carefully handed over to those most loyal. The Maddow Show says Wildstein didn’t even have to provide a resume. And the position Wildstein filled didn’t exist before it was created just for him. If he was the rogue stumblebum vindictive loser Christie is now painting him wouldn’t somebody more pliable, more competent, more grateful have gotten in at the Port Authority?

  55. LanceThruster says:

    Cuz he wanted someone else to do the swirlies?

  56. BeccaM says:

    By the way, not that it’s a unique prediction, but Spocko on FDL wrote a post a few days ago predicting Wildstein being thrown to the wolves.


    After the direct attack, the next step will be to get others to question the integrity and motivations of Wildstein. These attacks will come from surrogates who are “Just asking questions…”

    Expect personal smears about Wildstein to leak.

    Expect questions about who is backing him. ”Is this being orchestrated by the Democrats? Republican opponents? Who is paying for his high-powered lawyers?”

    Expect questions about what Wildstein wants in return for not revealing everything. “This is public blackmail. He wants a pay off! He won’t reveal anything new.Mark my words, Wildstein doesn’t have squat! He’s blackmailing the governor with a bluff! ”

    The Christie administration have worked through several stages of the Right Wing media communications play book by now.

    1) Denial. The Sergeant Schultz defense. “I know nothing! Nothing!”
    2) Diminish. “It’s no big deal. It’s a joke. The media are blowing this up.”
    3) Distance. Besides firing some people, they talk like they barely know them. They try to go back in time as if they never were tight.
    4) Disclosure. That was the first press conference. That was what was supposed to shut the whole thing down. Answer all questions.

    The truly surprising part — or then again, maybe not given how Christie and his people have behaved before and during this scandal — was how low they’ve decided to go. I mean really, one of Wildstein’s high school teachers said he was dishonest?

    How the hell can you assert something like that and expect not to be asked, “Then why did you hire him and give him one of the most powerful of your patronage jobs? Is it because you WANTED someone who was a dishonest, self-serving crook?”

  57. BearEyes says:


  58. BeccaM says:

    I do concur with most of that, but Chris Christie’s poor judgment goes much farther than forgetting that if you want a willing scapegoat, you don’t make a repeated public show of kicking that scapegoat yourself.

    The additional poor judgment was also in hiring people like Wildstein to these cushy and powerful patronage jobs. And using those appointees for what is looking increasingly like graft on a scale unseen since the Tammany Hall days. And in engaging not only in pocket-lining development corruption, but also to do so with federal dollars — and to behave in incredibly petty ways while doing it.

    As I’ve noted many times in the comments, if you want a scapegoat to be a willing scapegoat, you make sure he’s got an attorney who’ll advise him to remain being a scapegoat. Not make a public show of ensuring he has only whatever legal representation he can afford on his own, and facing the possibility of federal corruption charges that’ll make cutting a deal look like the only smart thing to do.

  59. cole3244 says:

    the more he talks the deeper the hole he is digging gets, i’m fine with that and i assume the investigators are also.

  60. Jeffrey Karter says:

    Bottom line – Chris Christie will do and say anything to save Chris Christie.

  61. chucke says:

    Hmmm maybe to cover-up the affair they had in high school?

  62. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    Maybe Wildstein is a horrible person. I have little doubt about that. But that probably IS the reason Christie hired him.

    Oh, absolutely. It’s obvious from the correspondence reported by TPM that the whole atmosphere of the governor’s office stank of intrigue, corruption, and contempt for anyone that caused them any inconvenience.

  63. Monophylos Fortikos says:

    This old Art Buchwald column seems appropriate:

    Good Job, John Dean

  64. HolyMoly says:

    Maybe Wildstein is a horrible person. I have little doubt about that. But that probably IS the reason Christie hired him. He wants bad guys who have little conscience about doing horrible things to his political enemies. He wants hit men. This is not at all about Christie’s poor judgment in hiring Wildstein. Wildstein is merely a window into the mind of Christie himself, a physical representation of his own sadism, corruption, and authoritarianism.

    To paraphrase Jessie Pinkman: “You don’t want to hire a criminal lawyer. You want to hire a CRIMINAL lawyer.” That’s exactly the type of guy Christie was looking for.

    The only poor judgment on Christie’s part was that he didn’t foresee that Wildstein might actually throw him under the bus. Christie doesn’t really have any room to complain. He did, after all, throw Wildstein under the bus in the first place. He can dish it out, but he can’t take it.

  65. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Is it because Christie is so detail oriented?

  66. HereinDC says:


  67. Cyrus Weinstein says:

    Not only is Christie in big trouble in New Jersey, he may be in big trouble in the afterlife. According to 88 year old blogger Lester Aldrich, Christie has committed the 7 Deadly Sins:

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