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Gov. Christie: One Day of Crisis But 'Two Sleepless Nights'?
Updated: GOP Governor of New Jersey fires top aide; Continues to claim he knew nothing about scheme to close lanes as political payback
Update (11:44 AM EST):
In a curious remark made during Gov. Christie's Thursday morning press conference, the governor seemed to contradict his statement about only learning about the lane closure scheme on Wednesday morning when his communications director contacted him after a local newspaper went live with the story. However, moments later, Christie said that he "lost sleep the past two nights" over the revelations.
Whether it was a misstatement or not, the possible slip did not go unnoticed on Twitter:
Update (11:29 AM EST):
At a press conference Thursday morning, Gov. Chris Christie announced that he has fired his top aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, for her role in a "vengeful" scheme to punish a New Jersey town for its mayor not endorsing Christie for reelection.
According to AP:
The governor announced her firing Thursday, saying she lied to him and he is "embarrassed and humiliated."
A day earlier, emails and texts surfaced that linked Kelly to the gridlock, along with other top Christie aides. The messages show that they closed traffic lanes, creating backups in the town of Fort Lee.
The governor has denied knowing about the lane closings and previously said no one on his staff was involved.
Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey claims he had no knowledge that one of his highest level staffers actively sought to conspire with a member of the state's Port Authority to close access to a highly trafficked bridge in order to serve retribution to a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie during his last reelection campaign.
"I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge," Christie said in a prepared statement on Wednesday after emails were published in a local paper showing that his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly made explicit overtures to mess with the town of Fort Lee's on-ramps to the George Washington Bridge.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote from her private email address to David Wildstein, a Christie-appointed executive with the Port Authority that maintains the state's roadways and bridges.
As the Guardian reports:
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. He has also claimed the controversy has all been cooked up by Democrats in the state legislature seeking to score political points.
The governor's statement Wednesday was not delivered publicly. Though he said those involved would be "held responsible," he did not indicate that any disciplinary actions or firing of staff, including Ms. Kelly, had yet taken place.