There was quite a bit of attention overnight to Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) expletive-laced speech at the annual New Jersey media roast this week, and it’s understandable why. We’re not generally accustomed to hearing a presidential candidate tell reporters to “clean the s**t out of your ears” and “get the f**k away from me.”
But in fairness, the remarks were not intended for the public, and there’s an expectation at the roast that speakers are going to use vulgar language. By all accounts, no one at the event was shocked by Christie’s use of profanity – given the event, it would have been more surprising if he didn’t deliver an expletive-laced speech.
Far more interesting were the New Jersey Republican’s on-the-record comments yesterday in which he characterized himself as some kind of victim. Politico reported:
Chris Christie says the media owes him an apology over the Bridgegate scandal.“I do believe there’s an absolute bias and a rush to judgment. You all know this, you saw the coverage of me 15 months ago. I was guilty, I had done it,” Christie said on CNBC Thursday morning. “Now we’re 15 months later, where are the apologies pouring in? Not one thing I said the day after the bridge situation has been proven wrong.”
He added that news coverage of his scandal was too intense as compared to reporting on the IRS. “At the time Bridgegate was outgunning, six or seven to one the IRS scandal,” Christie said.
The editorial board of the Newark Star-Ledger said this week, in reference to a separate matter, that the governor seems to have “lost his marbles.” After seeing his comments yesterday, the criticism seems apt – Christie’s whining about his own scandal is simply bonkers.
For example, Christie insists that everything he said “after the bridge situation” has proven to be true. That’s plainly ridiculous – the governor spent weeks upbraiding journalists who dared to take the controversy seriously, and when his denials proved to be wrong, Christie continued to suggest there was an actual “traffic study,” which in reality did not exist.
The governor also repeatedly said that he hadn’t directly launched his own investigation into what transpired, which also turned out to be untrue when Christie later said he dispatched his chief counsel and his chief of staff to determine what happened at the Port Authority.
Christie also believes the IRS controversy generated less attention than “Bridgegate.” It can be difficult to quantify such things – the IRS story dominated headlines for weeks – but what the governor neglected to mention is that there was no actual IRS “scandal.” The whole thing was a mirage and the conspiracy theories were easily discredited.
In contrast, the bridge scandal was real. One of the members of the governor’s team has already pleaded guilty. He really did conspire to commit crimes. There are also actual criminal indictments pending against actual former officials pointing to actual misdeeds.
In other words, more than a year later, Christie is comparing a real scandal to a made-up one, which in his mind, makes perfect sense.
Finally, let’s not miss the forest for the trees here. Some of Christie’s top aides conspired to punish some of Christie’s constituents, crippling a community on purpose, because a local mayor failed to endorse Christie’s re-election. These Christie administration officials abused their powers – allegedly to a criminal degree – in Christie’s name, and the governor’s defense was that he was simply too ignorant to know what was going on around him.
Looking back at this fiasco, Christie now wants journalists to apologize to him. The governor, apparently feeling sorry for himself, wants to be seen as a victim.
If he’s waiting for pity, Christie is going to be waiting a long time.