Christie Has History of Bullying, Petty Attacks

Image: Christie Has History of Bullying, Petty Attacks

Wednesday, 25 Dec 2013 08:05 AM

By Drew MacKenzie and Greg Richter

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie often takes petty revenge against people who he believes have slighted him, enhancing his bullying image, The New York Times reports.

Christie has most recently angered many over George Washington Bridge lane closures in September. Two of his close allies ordered lanes closed for four days leaving Fort Lee and going into New York City, causing traffic snarls.

Editor’s Note: Obama’s Budget Takes Aim at Retired Americans

Critics have charged the lane closures were retribution against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie's re-election. Christie has denied any such motive.

"Every organization takes its cues from the leadership as to what’s acceptable and what’s not, and this governor, in his public appearances, has made thuggery acceptable,” said Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading an investigation into the lane closings. “For the governor to say, ‘I knew nothing about this’? He created the atmosphere in which this is acceptable.”

Democrats and Republicans alike point to other instances where Christie's foes have been dealt swift retaliation.

In 2011, Christie accused State Senator Richard J. Codey of being "combative and difficult" in blocking two nominees. Codey responded that he had not blocked the nominations at all, but had agreed to them and held a meeting to speed them up.

Shortly thereafter, Codey, a former governor, was informed he would no longer be granted the occasional state trooper for protection that had guarded him at public events. On the same day, his cousin was fired from his job with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as was a friend working in the state Office of Consumer Affairs.

"I understand politics, that a new administration comes in, Codey told The Times. "But this wasn’t about the usual 'he brings his own people in.' This was all about sending a message."

The same year, Christie urged Rutgers political scientist Alan Rosenthal to side with Republicans on a redistricting map, as Rosenthal was the tie-breaking vote. Rosenthal voted with the Democrats, and Christie cut $169,000 for two programs at Rutgers.

In 2010, Republican state Senator Sean T. Kean criticized Christie for not being quick enough to call a state of emergency during a blizzard. Christie held a press conference in Kean's district, sending word for him not to attend. During redistricting, Kean's seat was eliminated.

Also in 2010, New Jersey state assemblyman John F. McKeon rebuked Christie during a radio interview for attacking public employee who had been some of the governor's biggest supporters. Later he was sent a handwritten note from Christie, saying he didn't appreciate the comments.

"I thought it was a joke,” McKeon said. “What governor would take the time to write a personal note over a relatively innocuous comment?”

Christie has denied taking retaliation against political foes, but he has made news and won some fans by taking on challengers rather than giving typical politician answers.

Christie, considered to be a 2016 presidential hopeful, is an early front-runner in opinion polls, showing a three-point lead over Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton in a recent Public Policy Polling survey.

Editor’s Note: Obama’s Budget Takes Aim at Retired Americans

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