Hoboken Mayor: I’m not going to comment on my Christie allegations any further
posted at 11:12 am on January 23, 2014 by Guy Benson
The public won’t be hearing any more from Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer about her shifting allegations against Chris Christie. Her job here is done:
Mayor Dawn Zimmer is clamming up about Gov. Chris Christie. Zimmer, who on Saturday alleged that Christie’s administration withheld Hurricane Sandy relief funds because the mayor wouldn’t support a politically connected development in the city’s north end, today said she’s no longer speaking to the media about the scandal. This is after at one appearance on MSNBC last Saturday, when she first aired her claims, and two on CNN, the last one on Monday night. She declined to speak to Fox News. But her lips are sealed from now on, Zimmer, a Democrat, said in a statement she issued this morning. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked that we not conduct additional media interviews and we are respecting their request,” the statement reads.
Zimmer might have wanted to stop talking anyway, if only to stop contradicting herself. She told CNN last week that she “had no reason to believe” that her city’s dearth of Sandy relief funds (a grossly misleading characterization in the first place) was the result of political retribution:
Her comments over the weekend are a change from what she told CNN last week. She said then that she didn’t think Sandy funds for her city were tied to any instance of political retribution. “I don’t think it was retaliation, and I don’t have any reason to think it’s retaliation, but I’m not satisfied with the amount of money I’ve gotten so far,” Zimmer said. She did not mention her concerns about the redevelopment project. But Sunday morning, Zimmer told CNN she didn’t speak out before because she didn’t think anyone would believe her.
Now she’s saying precisely the opposite, provideding undated and ostensibly contemporaneous diary entries as evidence. Two weeks ago she reportedly shopped a story to a New Jersey journalist, claiming that Christie had withheld aid from Hoboken (except for, you know, the $70 million they’ve gotten) because of her decision not to endorse him for re-election. That didn’t stick, apparently, so a few days later Christie’s motive morphed into a quid pro quo over a building development deal. Also, Zimmer has yet to explain why she fulsomely praised Christie’s work on behalf of her city just a few short months after she claims to have been victimized by his deeply unseemly extortion scheme. An eyewitnesses to one of the two alleged shakedown threats — one of Zimmer’s Democratic mayor colleagues, no less — pointedly refused to corroborate her version of events, and in fact praised the Christie administration’s handling of Sandy relief efforts. Now another Democratic mayor is publicly airing his doubts about Zimmer’s account:
Add Union City’s Democratic Mayor Brian Stack to the list of politicians coming out to support Gov. Chris Christie. Stack told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” that he has doubts about allegations from Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that Christie’s office withheld Hurricane Sandy aid funding because she didn’t support a development project in Hoboken that the governor favored. “I just think the story is far-fetched,” Stack told CNN. “My relationship with the governor and his staff and this administration has been one of the best.”
Meanwhile, New Jersey Democrats’ investigation into ‘Bridgegate’ is off to an auspicious start. It appears that in their zeal to summon anyone and everyone they could think of to testify, lawmakers accidentally subpoenaed a woman who has zero connection to the controversy. “They were in such a hurry to drag people in that they got the wrong Nicole,” one GOP source told NJ.com. Oops. S.E. Cupp’s column on Team Christie’s unity, which was a Headlines item yesterday, makes a good point:
After scandals such as this, it usually isn’t long before an inner circle begins to break down, before betrayals seep out and one-time loyalists try to cash in on a quick moment in the spotlight. There are usually disgruntled staffers who may have felt undervalued or underappreciated, people who are all too happy to share juicy tidbits or convey, even off the record, that yes . . . this is the way things are done around here, and there’s more. There are self-savers who can see a sinking ship from miles away, know all the information that can potentially leak out, and jump at an opportunity to escape blame or seem noble. And there are fame-grabbers, who might not have any axes to grind or retribution to seek, but just want to be the one to tell a reporter a secret. In the case of Christie — and it’s still early — there’s been none of this. There have been no reports, on or off the record, from within the Christie administration confirming even the smallest detail or suggesting that Christie’s office is a place where something like this might occur. Where are the moles? The turncoats? The whistleblowers? The opportunists?
While watching cable news coverage of Christie’s second inauguration on Tuesday, I saw one analyst declare that Christie’s guilt or innocence in all of this may be irrelevant. What matters, he said, was the appearance of “swirling scandals.” Democrats have a strong incentive to keep that swirl churning for as long as they can for obvious reasons, which is why they dispatched DWS to trail him in Florida over the weekend. The media’s saturation coverage of these stories has unquestionably damaged Christie’s standing both nationally and in New Jersey — where his (diminished) job approval and favorability ratings still remain afloat, for now. As Allahpundit explained, the mass exodus of Democrats accounts for the large bulk of his polling erosion, with independents, moderates and Republicans generally sticking with him. Christie’s task ahead is to stop the bleeding, rebuild some of his lost support at home, and work to restore his image with the national audience. He’s got plenty of time to forge a comeback narrative, especially if he can credibly claim exoneration; whether he pulls it off remains to be seen. And it goes without saying that if any solid evidence turns up contradicting his adamant public statements, he’s dead.