Twitter blew up Thursday morning as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) faced reporters to address the George Washington Bridge traffic jam his staffers purposely orchestrated last fall, with a consensus on social media that the possible presidential candidate had been hurt politically.
The Democratic National Committee’s communications director, Mo Elleithee, mocked Christie for making the press conference about himself.
me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) January 9, 2014
One journalist noted President Obama has used the word “we” more in reaction to past scandals.
Notable contrast between Christie's deliberate use of the word "I" to the president's use of the word "we" in scandals/controversies.— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) January 9, 2014
Christie accepted responsibility for his staffers’ actions. His deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, helped arrange for two lanes to close on the bridge near Fort Lee, N.J., last year, according to emails released Wednesday. Those emails showed Kelly worked with others in an act of revenge against that town’s mayor — a Democrat — who didn’t endorse Christie in last year’s election.
During the press conference, Christie announced that he had fired Kelly Thursday morning. He also said he would prevent his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, from becoming the head of the state’s Republican Party. Stepien was also involved in the scandal.
The Christie press conference in one GIF http://t.co/O5rmED0oje— BuzzFeed Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 9, 2014
Christie denied that the effort to close the lanes was an act of political retribution. He said he didn’t think the Fort Lee mayor ever did anything wrong.
Wonder what Christie's people did to people who's endorsements they actually sought.— Sam Seder (@SamSeder) January 9, 2014
One person Christie didn’t mention was his press secretary, Michael Drewniak, whose name appeared in the email exchanges released Wednesday.
One person Christie hasn't mentioned: his press secretary Michael Drewniak, whose name came up in the emails.— Alex Silverman (@AlexSilverman) January 9, 2014
In early September, Christie’s office had said the lanes on the bridge had closed because a traffic study had been conducted.
Here, I'll do a traffic study. "There's a lot of traffic on the roads from NJ into NYC." Done.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) January 9, 2014
A former press secretary at the DNC took that claim, and said the U.S. attorney’s office should investigate Christie.
The US Attorney should study the traffic under @GovChristie's bus.— Hari Sevugan (@HariSevugan) January 9, 2014
Some called Christie’s Thursday remarks a “mea culpa,” but the DNC’s Elleithee didn’t think so.
This is NOT a mea culpa. This is NOT taking responsibility. It is Chris Christie passing the buck.— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) January 9, 2014
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), on the other hand, thought Christie did well.
Rep Grimm (R-NY) stmt: "Gov Christie demonstrated true leadership and accountability during today’s press conference."— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) January 9, 2014
Journalists asked if the scandal shows whether Christie is a bully or a micromanager. Christie rejected those accusations.
Taking Christie at his word, he is now admitting that he is a hands OFF manager. Totally opposite of image he has sold for 5 years— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) January 9, 2014
The consensus on social media is that this incident will hurt Christie politically.
10 car pile up on Fort Lee onramp to GW Bridge. One governor gravely injured. http://t.co/ensjjN8GYy— david carr (@carr2n) January 9, 2014
Halperin and Heilman's next book: "Lane Change"— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) January 9, 2014
One person summarized the timeline of the Christie presser.
Chris Christie Stages of Grief 1. Blindsided 2. Treadmill Walking 3. Soul-Searching 4. Learning what a Traffic Study is 5. ... Anger?— Wyeth Ruthven (@wyethwire) January 9, 2014
Christie: "I assume most people are trustworthy until proven otherwise." This guy is the governor of NEW JERSEY?— Roger Simon (@politicoroger) January 9, 2014