The PJ Tatler

NYT: Woman Says Bridgegate Closings Didn't Cause Her Mother's Death

This might take some of the pop out of the feeding frenzy engulfing NJ Gov. Chris Christie.

FORT LEE, N.J. — The daughter of a 91-year-old woman from Fort Lee, N.J., who died on the day of a major traffic jam precipitated by top aides to Gov. Chris Christie said on Thursday that she did not believe the inability of an ambulance to reach her mother’s house was a factor in her death.

“I honestly believe it was just her time,” said Vilma Oleri, whose mother, Florence Genova, died on the morning of Sept. 9, the first day that the closing of local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge set off the snarls.

A Fort Lee emergency official has said that the traffic jam prevented an ambulance from Englewood Hospital from reaching Ms. Genova’s home.

Christie’s critics have seized on Genova’s death, even calling the traffic jam scandal “Bridgeghazi” in an accidental acknowledgement that Benghazi is a legitimate scandal — now that it can somehow be aimed at a Republican. Some have even suggested that manslaughter charges should be on the table. In the bridge scandal, not Benghazi, of course.

The mania surrounding the traffic lane closings is a bit rich coming from pundits and media who have downplayed much more serious Democratic scandals for years. Those who have minimized the IRS abuse scandal, Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the national park closings during the 2012 shutdown are really in no ethical position to swing away at Christie. That isn’t stopping them, of course.

None of this absolves Christie. He put his word on the line Thursday, arguing that his close-knit inner circle lied to him and launched the closures on their own. That’s a bit hard to believe. If it turns out that he spent that 109 minute press conference lying, then he may well be done. The governor’s December 23 remarks, in which he said his staff had given him a “full briefing” on the matter, remain a problem for him.

Perhaps he can just huff up and ask “What difference, at this point, does it make?” It worked for the other party’s likely 2016 nominee.