There are a lot of questions being asked around DC and New Jersey about “Bridgegate.” Did the Governor know? How has he dealt with those involved? How was his performance in his press conference? Is he a bully and narcissist or an aggressive, straight shooting, get the job done kind of politician? Can he recover from this?
Many hours will be spent debating these and other questions, and hundreds of email records and other documentation related to the scandal will be scrutinized as his political opponents look for evidence of his involvement and/or undesirable character traits. For many, it will come down to political affiliation and agenda. Even if a smoking gun is never found, this will be used as an example of the management style and thuggish behavior voters should expect if he were to end up in the White House.
So how can anyone know what to believe? Some very useful clues can be found by examining how Christy has responded to this crisis, especially in his dealings with those directly involved and with the media as he tries to salvage his image and reputation.
The staff responsible were close and trusted associates who have a long relationship with their now former boss-“like family” according to the Governor. Therefore one would expect him to be devastated by their behavior and struggling to separate out feelings of loyalty and sadness from anger and denial. In his press conference he talked a lot about sadness and he denied the anger, however his behavior has been saying something else.
According to Christy, he fired those involved without any discussion at all and has not seen or spoken to any of them since. During his press conference he called Bridget Anne Kelly “stupid,” and “dishonest.” He also denied that he was friends with David Wildstein in high school, labeling himself as the “class president” and “athlete” who didn’t even know what David was doing during that time.” Both of these examples illustrate that Christy doesn’t hesitate to throw someone under a bus to save himself and in this case the message is that neither of them are of his caliber and worth further discussion.
Then there is his constant refrain that he is the wronged innocent, even though he states he is ultimately responsible. His long press conference was all about being the victim who trusted the wrong people- and now he is suffering because his staff wanted revenge on a guy who was never on his radar and he couldn’t even pick out in a line up- in other words, not worth the risk.
Add these nonverbal messages up and here is a guy who thinks highly of himself, believes he is never wrong, is loyal only to those who are useful to him- and won’t hesitate to sacrifice anyone who gets in the way of his ambition. Does Christy have what it takes to be President? What do you think?