How Chris Christie abused the sacred relics of 9/11 site to advance his ambition and splatter himself and his toadies with the profanity of indifference to incalculable, unimaginable pain.
What happened on September 11, 2001 happened with cruel, irrevocable finality to the 3,000 dead and to the thousands more whose lives were shattered by the loss of children, parents, wives, husbands, brothers and sisters. It happened, too, less directly and personally, to a nation that entered into a new world of fear and horror—we all owned the consequences. But now, we are learning from a federal courtroom in Newark, there was a small, very small, number of very small people who saw 9/11 differently—who saw it as a way of advancing their own ambitions and the political fortunes of just one man.
“The only person who mattered was Governor Christie.”
The only person who mattered was…Christie.
The words are from David Wildstein, Christie’s sycophant and factotum, who began his testimony Friday with a calm recitation of his political duties as a man with a made-up, $150,000 a year job for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA).
Wildstein, who already has pleaded guilty to federal charges involving the 2013 shutdown of the George Washington Bridge, said much more, of course, but there is a lot said in this trial that doesn’t really count for very much.
The words about how Christie was the only person who mattered—they are important. And so are the words about how the governor insisted that favors be done for already committed and prospective political allies whom he wanted to help him become president of the United States by winning a blowout re-election as New Jersey governor in 2013.
The other words that count, words that hurt, include Wildstein’s depiction of favors touching on 9/11 relics as “goody bags” that can be given to mayors and other poltiicians. Pieces of the building that was a pyre for the not-quite-dead, American flags that really weren’t flying above the scene of the horrors until Christie ordered them raised over it.
While parents still seek the remains of their chiildren, Chris Christie uses pieces of the building as “goody bags.”
This man—“the only person who mattered”—cynically exploited the emotions generated by the worst single civilian slaughter in the history of the United States—so other politicians could have flags on their shelves and pieces of steel beams on their desks–and warm, fuzzy feelings about endorsing Christie for re-election in 2013 by a big enough margin so he would look like a presidential possibility instead of the callous bully they knew him to be.
A lot of profanity has been uttered in this trial so far, most of its directed at Wildstein by defense lawyers who have called him an “asshole” and a “vicious guy” and even a “miserable prick.”
But what does that make a guy like Christie who enlisted Wildstein to help him exploit the awfulness of that day—the personal tragedies and the national fears—just to advance his political career?
No profanity here: But I’d use a word—an indifferent, insensitive punk who wouldn’t even think of what it might mean to the relatives of the dead of 9/11 for him to use the relics of the World Trade Center as “goody bags” for his buddies.
“It’s painful and upsetting very time anyone uses 9/11 for political purposes,” says Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick who lost her husband, who lost the life she and her two children knew and loved, on that day.
“It’s just so wrong.”
But, you see, Christie’s toadies—men and women with their own shallow agendas—fed his delusion that he was “the only person who mattered” and so relieved him of common expectations of decency.
Lorie Van Auken’s husband and the thousands of others who died didn’t, don’t, matter to the only person who mattered.
The anguish of a nation and its respect for the heroes of 911—that didn’t matter either to the only person who mattered.
Because only Chris Christie mattered.
And, as Wildstein added:
“If it was good for Governor Christie, it was good for us.”