True story: Chris Christie’s second term as New Jersey governor only starts today. As you can imagine, the Bridgegate scandal is taking a toll on the fun of it all.
Enthusiasm for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s second inauguration celebration Tuesday has been more muted than his first in 2010, as the Republican continues to deal with the fallout over a widening scandal over alleged political retribution.
A dinner scheduled Monday night for Gov. Chris Christie’s closest supporters in Jersey City was canceled, an inauguration committee spokesman said. Republicans had more tickets to give away for the events than they did in 2010, when there was more demand, party leaders said.
Three weeks ago, Gov. Chris Christie’s inauguration was expected to be a celebration of his re-election victory and a launching pad for a second-term agenda that many of his supporters hoped might cement his status as a front-runner to become the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee.
Although the inaugural show will go on as planned — beginning with a church service in Newark, followed by Christie’s swearing-in and inaugural address in Trenton and an evening celebration on Ellis Island — at least one political watcher expects the scandal will force the governor to deliver a drastically different message than originally planned.
“Three weeks ago, the speech that was probably written would have directed the nation to follow New Jersey’s example of bipartisanship,” said Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University. “I don’t think he can go there now.”
The Republican will mark his landslide re-election victory with a lavish inauguration Tuesday, which includes plans of a day-long affair ending in a party on Ellis Island. The celebration, originally billed as an event to honor the governor, is just the latest high-profile event for Christie timed as he attempts to divert attention away from his administration embroiled in scandal. Tuesday’s piece of political theater is unlikely include any nod to the ongoing investigation into whether members of Christie’s staff closed off one of the most trafficked bridges in the country as possible political retribution.