According to a press conference this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has absolutely no idea that members of his staff purposefully jammed the traffic on a local bridge in order to evoke “payback” on a New Jersey mayor that wouldn’t endorse him for his reelection.
Sure he didn’t.
If the Republican Governor did know what was going on and authorized it, he’s once more reinforced his image as a major bully. Even as he declares he was misled and lied to, many are finding it hard to believe. “I’m actually rooting that the highest elected official in the state of New Jersey isn’t involved in this, but I will tell you I’m beginning to question my judgment,” said Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, whose city was targeted by the stunt.
Why is it so difficult for people to take Governor Christie at his word? Probably because this wouldn’t have been the first time he’s bullied adversaries. Here are the top five instances of him strong arming the opponent.
Some people love the press. Others love to attack them. Christie did both in May of 2010, when a local liberal columnist asked him why he always had a “confrontational tone.” According to Huffington Post, “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) went on a rant about the need for political disagreement and insisted he was hardly being confrontational. ‘You should really see me when I’m pissed!’ he said. ‘This is who I am, like it or not. And this is who the people elected.’”
It became an infamous image just before the 2013 election: Chris Christie, finger in the air, right in the face of a female teacher asking him a question at a rally. But what was really being said? The teacher explained:
I asked him: “Why do you portray our schools as failure factories?“ His reply: “Because they are!“ He said: “I am tired of you people. What do you want?”
One Republican state senator who had the nerve to criticize the governor over not declaring a state of emergency early enough during a 2010 blizzard was told not to attend an upcoming press event that was going to be hosted in the senator’s own district. Not seeing that as retaliation enough, his seat was then eliminated during the state’s redistricting process that year.
Serving our country doesn’t save you from Christie’s wrath. After getting into a heated argument with a Navy SEAL at a townhall in 2012, Christie called the attendee an “idiot” as he had security escort him out the door. Once the SEAL was gone, Christie told the audience: ”You know, I tried to be patient with the guy. Every time I tried to answer, he started yelling over me again. Damn, man, I’m governor, could you just shut up for a second?”
Not even his own party’s nominee for president was immune from his bullying, if an account from a book about the 2012 presidential race is to be believed:
He was also a fundraising dynamo, but he and his staff were overbearing and hard to work with, demanding in ways that would have been unthinkable from any other surrogate. Months earlier, Christie had banned Romney from raising money in New Jersey until Christie had given the O.K. to do so—a move Romney found galling, like something out of The Sopranos. Are you kidding me, Mitt thought. He’s going to do that?”
Still think Christie isn’t a bully? There’s a very jammed bridge in New Jersey he’d be happy to sell you, too…
Photo credit: Wikimedia commons