A new video from the Democratic National Committee paints Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) as hypocritical for decrying the “callous” tone of his staff by highlighting past clips of Christie shouting down critics in public.
It builds Democrats’ case that Christie has in fact fostered a culture of intimidation within his administration that led to Christie staffers orchestrating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution against a Christie detractor.
“Yesterday, Chris Christie fired a top staffer citing his ‘callous’ tone. Christie argued that this was not reflective of the culture he’s created in his office. But, over the last four years this ‘callous indifference’ is exactly the tone we have seen over and over again from Christie,” said DNC spokesman Michael Czin.
“It’s clear that Chris Christie absolutely created and fostered a culture in his office where this type of tone was considered appropriate. Maybe Christie should hold himself to the same standard.”
During a Thursday press conference addressing new emails that linked his administration to the lane closures, which snarled traffic in Fort Lee, N.J. for four days in September, Christie announced he had removed his former campaign manager Bill Stepien from consideration for the state party chairmanship and from his position advising the Republican Governors Association.
He did so, he said, because he was “disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude–callous indifference–that was displayed in the emails” from Stepien.
The DNC video points to clips of Christie shouting down questioners at town halls and critics in public as evidence Christie cultivated that tone.
"Governor, the tone is set at the top,” on-screen text reads at the end of the video.
The governor’s confrontational style has long been his calling card, long criticized by Democrats but seen by many of his fans as an asset at a time when the public has become fed up with gridlock in Congress and politics-as-usual.
But Democrats believe the bridge scandal offers them the clearest opportunity yet to puncture Christie in advance of 2016, where he previously appeared to be the party’s greatest threat to holding control of the White House.
On Thursday evening's "The Daily Show," host Jon Stewart also mocked Christie's confrontational style with past clips of some of the governor's most intimidating comments.