New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s former opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, calls reports that Christie’s allies mocked “children of Buono voters” being stuck in traffic created by bridge lane closures “horrifying.”
But the former gubernatorial candidate, who Christie easily defeated in November’s election, said the emails and texts from Christie staffers and supporters revealed Wednesday were unsurprising.
“I knew that this [scandal] was going to lead to Chris Christie back in September, because this is an administration, it’s a paramilitary organization,” Buono said on MSNBC’s “Last Word” on Wednesday. “People don’t go to the bathroom without asking his permission. But I have to tell you, those quotes were startling to me. They were horrifying that somebody would talk about children in that way. It’s an abuse of trust of the public.”
Buono was responding to a text message exchange between a Christie ally and another person about the lane closures in September, which caused massive traffic headaches for a town in New Jersey run by a mayor who claims the closures were ordered as political retribution for not supporting Christie’s reelection. The unidentified person told Christie’s friend and Port Authority official David Wildstein they felt bad about children stuck in the traffic jam, to which Wildstein replied they were Buono voters’ kids.
“What kind of a person says that?” Buono said.
The state senator said the whole affair, which Christie has said he had no knowledge of, impugns the character of the governor, who is considered a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
“It goes beyond a bridge closing. This is an issue of character,” Buono said. “This is a governor that has a reputation for utilizing the levers of power to exact political revenge. And this is something that people, not just of New Jersey, but the people of the United States of America need to know about. He’s somebody who wants to lead our nation and be the chief executive over the largest, the most powerful military force in the world. And he can’t be trusted to manage the busiest bridge in the world.”
Christie issued a statement Wednesday that he was seeing the emails and text messages revealed that day for the first time with the rest of America. He has denied being behind the lane closures.