Comedian Jon Stewart ripped into New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for allegations that he closed lanes on a heavily used bridge in an act of political retribution.
Christie came under fire on Wednesday after emails surfaced showing members of his administration were involved in discussions with state transportation officials last year about closing lanes on the New Jersey side of George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey to New York City and is the most heavily-traveled bridge in the U.S.
Christie is accused of ordering the lane closure in response to the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., declining to endorse his bid for reelection last year.
The “Daily Show” host also predicted the bridge scandal would reverberate in the nascent 2016 presidential campaign; Christie is widely expected to run.
“Did probable presidential favorite Chris Christie personally order this traffic hit?” Stewart said. “I don’t know. But I do know one thing about the effects of this burgeoning scandal: You can probably now see Paul Ryan’s [excitement] from space.”
Christie said Wednesday afternoon that he was “outraged” by the reports that members of his administration participated in discussions with New Jersey state transportation officials about closing the bridge lanes.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said in a written statement. “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.
“One thing is clear: This type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it, because the people of New Jersey deserve better,” Christie continued. “This behavior is not representative of me or my administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”
Stewart criticized Christie for not including a direct apology in his statement, however.
“Clearly somebody’s getting thrown under the bus here,” he said. “Fortunately for them, the bus isn’t moving, it’s stuck in terrible traffic.”
Stewart, who identified himself as a “senior New Jersey correspondent,” also mocked Christie’s bridge allegations for paling in comparison to other New Jersey political scandals.
“As I guy who grew up in New Jersey, I’m disappointed. I’m ashamed of the state I grew up in,” Stewart said. “Political payback through traffic congestion ... to see New Jersey sink to such a piss poor, third-rate quality of corruption. This is New Jersey, a state renowned for its piss-rich, first-rate quality of corruption.
“Planning this over email with non-coded lingo, you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” Stewart continued. “ 'Hey, why don’t we create a traffic jam in Fort Lee as retribution?' You’re an embarrassment to dialog. Here’s how it should’ve gone: ‘Yeah, did you take care of that thing? Yeah, that thing? I took care of that thing. Our good friend Lee, yeah he’s constipated alright. ... Our good friend Lee, he’s going to be backed up.”