Thursday, September 28, 2023
HomepoliticsWall Street sees Christie down, but not out

Wall Street sees Christie down, but not out

The early consensus among New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's many Wall Street supporters is that the George Washington Bridge flareup has hurt him but barring any new revelations, it will not derail his possible presidential candidacy in 2016.

In emails and phone calls, would-be Christie donors tell me the governor did what he needed to do in his nearly two-hour news conference on Thursday, firing the aide who sent the infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email and proclaiming himself deeply embarrassed and very sorry that the incident took place.

The Republican governor said over and over that he knew nothing about the effort to shut down entrance lanes to the bridge in an apparent attempt to punish the Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for failing to endorse Christie's re-election bid.

"As I hoped and expected, Governor Christie was forthright, sincere, seriously embarrassed and unequivocally apologetic," Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and a major Christie Wall Street supporter, told me in an email from Vietnam.

Other Wall Streeters who watched the presser said Christie performed well but that if any documents or interviews come out in the many ongoing investigations suggesting the governor did know something about the closures, his career is likely over.

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"He didn't do too badly," said a top executive at one of the largest firms on Wall Street. "As long as it's all true."

Christie was as unequivocal as he could possibly be that he did nothing to direct the lane closures. But some questions remain.

(Read more: Op-ed: Christie's 2016 flight just got stuck in traffic)

Among them: How did Christie's appointee at the Port Authority, David Wildstein, know to shut down the lanes with only a single instruction from now-former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly? Some observers suggested the terse email exchange, in which Wildstein simply replied "got it," suggested it might not have been the first time this type of activity took place.

Others asked why Christie talked on Thursday about having a couple of sleepless nights when he claimed to have only learned of the damning emails on Wednesday? And why did Christie repeatedly say that there may indeed have been some kind of "traffic study" involved in the lane closures? Why is the governor clinging to that possible explanation when the true reason for the closures is now known? Are there documents suggesting someone tried to make the closures look like a traffic study after the fact?

(Read more: 'Tour de force' or end of the road for Christie?)


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