“Do we have another shovel?” Professor Plum asked as he walked into the mail room. “Don’t tell Sergeant Schultz, but we’re digging an escape tunnel.”
He read the mail. (More)
Professor Plum then left with Ms. Scarlet to join the resident faculty in the
wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend tunneling drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).
In the staff poker game, the
Professor of Astrology Janitor looked down at the Ace and King of Spades. He raised, the Squirrel folded, and Chef called. The flop brought the Jack and Seven of Diamonds and the Ten of Spades. With an inside straight draw and a backdoor flush draw, and to continue his pre-flop show of strength, the Professor of Astrology Janitor bet half the pot. Chef considered for a moment and again called. The Six of Diamonds on the turn ended his hopes for a flush, and hoping for a Queen would be a bridge too far, so he checked. Chef calmly pushed enough chips that the he would have to go all-in to call. The Professor of Astrology Janitor folded and began his plaintive mewling. Chef flashed her Eight and Nine of Diamonds and then went to the kitchen to make New Jersey Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwiches, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….
Dear Ms. Crissie,
Good morning. I’m writing to apologize to the people of New Jersey and the people of Fort Lee and the state legislature. I share your pain. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. This conduct is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for the appropriate role of government and for the people that were trusted to serve. Four weeks ago I told my staff they had one hour to tell me everything they knew about the lane closures of the George Washington Bridge, and if they didn’t tell me anything then I would go out for a press conference and and say that no one in my office was involved. I asked my chief counsel and another trusted friend to interview each of them and report back to me. They assured me that they had no information that would change my ability to be able to say that no one on my staff was involved in this matter.
That was obviously a lie. And the emails that I saw for the first time yesterday morning, when they broken in I believe the Bergen Record story, proved that that was a lie. There’s no justification for that behavior. There’s no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this government. And as a result, I’ve terminated Bridget Kelly’s employment immediately.
I have also begun personal interviews with my staff …
We apologize for yawning. Will this end soon?
… and if there is additional information that needs to be disclosed, I will do so. If there’s additional actions that need to be taken with my senior staff, I will do so.
I will tell you, though, it’s been written a lot over the last couple of days about what a tight-knit staff I have and how closely everyone works together, and that is true. And ever since the time I was U.S. attorney, I’ve engendered the sense and feeling among the people closest to me that we’re a family, and we work together and we tell each other truth, we support each other when we need to be supported, and we admonish each other when we need to be admonished. I am heartbroken that someone who I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust.
I would never have come out here four or five weeks ago and made a joke about these lane closures if I had ever had an inkling that anyone on my staff would have been so stupid but to be involved and then so deceitful as to just – just to not disclose the information of their involvement to me when directly asked by their superior. And those questions were not asked, by the way, just once; they were asked repeatedly.
Ahh, Chef brought us another coffee. That will help.
I was disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference that was displayed in the emails by my former campaign manager, Bill Stepien. And reading that, it made me lose my confidence in Bill’s judgment. And you cannot have someone at the top of your political operation who you do not have confidence in. As a result, I’ve instructed Bill Stepien to not place his name in nomination for state party chairman, and he will not be considered for state party chairman, and I’ve instructed him to withdraw his consultancy with the Republican Governors Association. If I cannot trust someone’s judgment, I cannot ask others to do so, and I would not place him at the head of my political operation because of the lack of judgment that was shown in the emails that were revealed yesterday.
Let me tell you, I was blindsided yesterday morning. I was done with my workout yesterday morning and got a call from my communications director at about 8:50, 8:55, informing me of this story that had just broken on the Bergen Record website. That was the first time I knew about this. That was the first time I had seen …
Black Ten on the Red Jack….
… any of the documents that were revealed yesterday.
Let me conclude with this. This is not the tone that I’ve set over the last four years in this building. It’s not the environment I’ve worked so hard to achieve. We saw just a few months ago, and I’ve seen over the course of the last four years, Republicans and Democrats working together, not without argument – government’s never without argument – but ultimately coming to resolution on so many different issues in a bipartisan way and running a campaign that was in fact a bipartisan campaign.
And so I am extraordinarily disappointed by this, but this is the exception, it is not the rule, of what’s happened over the last four years in this administration.
I’ve considered it over the last four years to be my job to be the governor of every New Jerseyan – Republican, Democrat, independent or unaffiliated – and I’ve worked with elected officials on both sides of the aisle, ones that I agree with and ones that I disagree with. The political overtones that were exhibited in those documents released …
Red Six on the Black Seven….
… yesterday and the conduct by those people is not acceptable.
But people, I think, all across this state understand that human beings are not perfect and mistakes are made. And I believe what they expect of me as the chief executive of this state is when that information comes into my possession, that I consider it and then act as swiftly as possible to remediate whatever ill occurred. That’s what I’ve done today. Actions have consequences, and I’m living up to that right now.
And I’ll say one last thing, just so we’re really clear. I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. Regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way, and it is not the way this administration has conducted itself over the last four years and …
Where did we leave our nail file?
… not the way it will conduct itself over the next four. I will do everything within my power to assure the people of New Jersey that. And I thank them for their willingness to consider my apology on behalf of this government. In the end, I have 65,000 people working for me every day. And I cannot know what each one of them is doing at every minute. But that doesn’t matter; I’m ultimately responsible for what they do. And that’s why I took this action.
Chris in NJ
Are you finished?
Dear Ms. Crissie,
That was my opening statement. I’ll take questions now.
Chris in NJ
No thank you. We got the gist. You knew nothing, despite evidence that your campaign manager, your deputy chief of staff, at least two of your appointees at the Port Authority, and pretty much everyone else between Trenton and Newark began trading emails about this fiasco weeks before it happened, continued to trade congratulatory emails while it happened, including discussions of whether they were breaking any laws, and went on trading emails about how to cover it up in the weeks after it happened. But you knew nothing, because three months later you told everyone you were going to have two members of your staff talk to them during the next hour and, if they all denied involvement, you’d go to the press and say your office had nothing to do with it.
After all, before being governor you were only a federal prosecutor who focused on political corruption. Who could possibly expect you to know any more reliable method for investigating such a scandal?
Dear Ms. Crissie,
What is a New Jersey Pork Roll Breakfast Sandwich? Will I get stuck in traffic if I try to make it?
Gridlocked for Breakfast in Blogistan
Dear Gridlocked for Breakfast,
New Jersey Pork Roll is a breakfast meat recipe developed in 1856 by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey. Chef browns two slices in a hot, buttered skillet, then places them on a Kaiser roll with a fried egg and a slice of cheddar cheese. Ketchup is the traditional New Jersey condiment, and Chef notes that you may substitute Spam if New Jersey Pork Roll is unavailable where you live. Bon appétit!