Now that the lawyers he hired have released a rather laughable piece of taxpayer-financed propaganda, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has begun hitting the airwaves, launching his first real public-relations offensive, at least since talking about David Wildstein’s high school antics in the ’70s.
There are a few problems with Christie’s pitch, including the curious notion that the public should see the governor as some sort of victim.
Christie sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer yesterday, for example, and while there weren’t any shocking new revelations, this stood out as a striking perspective.
Christie, a Republican, said that the more than two month long controversy took a toll on his professional life.“You don’t sleep, you don’t eat … you struggle. You struggle,” Christie said.
Hmm. Members of the governor’s team conspired to abuse their power – in Christie’s name – and used government as a weapon to cripple a New Jersey community on purpose. The governor’s explanation for what transpired has evolved over time, occasionally contradicted itself, and the public still doesn’t know exactly why Team Christie engaged in corruption on this scale.
But we’re supposed to feel sorry for the governor?
Indeed, a not-so-subtle appeal for sympathy appears to be a key element of the larger public-relations campaign. Note that in yesterday’s ridiculous report, readers are told that Christie talked to his team on Jan. 8 while “welling up with tears” and “with tears in his eyes.”
We’ve seen some hints in this direction before. At his two-hour-long press conference in January, Christie presented himself as a victim, talking repeatedly about how “sad” he is to have been “betrayed” by those inside his “circle of trust.”
A month later, the New Jersey Republican Party also pushed the victimization angle.
The New Jersey Republican State Committee is using Gov. Chris Christie’s scandal to raise money.In a fundraising appeal email today sent to supporters, the party attacked Democrats and the “liberal media” and asked supporters to “reaffirm” their support for Christie by committing to donate $25 a month.
Christie’s senior aides engaged in flagrant corruption; there was a cover-up to conceal their misconduct; and the Christie administration still has no explanation for why the governor’s aides did what they did … so send some cash because journalists are reporting on the scandal.
For the record, the governor’s scandal was a violation of the public trust, making the people of New Jersey, not Christie, the victim here.