Governor Christie’s statement Thursday that he fired senior staffer Bridget Anne Kelly after being “misled” about the George Washington Bridge traffic jam has echoes of an episode when he fired his education commissioner more than three years ago.
In August 2010 Christie claimed that his education chief at the time, Bret Schundler, lied to him about a bungled application for $400 million in federal Race to the Top funds. But Schundler fiercely disputed the charge that he misled the governor and quickly showed reporters emails to prove his case.
“The governor called me a liar,” Schundler wrote in a seven-page chronology of events relating to the application. “I have no choice now but to defend my name.”
At the time, a Christie’s spokesman said Schundler was engaging in “revisionist history.”
The dispute occurred when New Jersey lost the first round of the Race to the Top contest by only three points out of 500. The failure to include budget data for 2008 and 2009 in the application cost five key points.
After losing the contest, Christie said at a Wednesday press conference that the state had provided the budget data to a panel of judges in Washington D.C. – and blasted the Obama administration’s “drones” for being too bureaucratic in their rules. But a video released by the U. S. Department of Education the next day proved Christie’s remarks to be inaccurate; the Schundler team did not have the budget data on hand.
Christie fired Schundler soon after the video came out.
Hours after his termination, Schundler showed reporters emails that he sent to the governor’s top staff before the Wednesday press conference; the emails underscored that he did not present the necessary budget numbers to the panel. Schundler told reporters that before the governor’s televised tirade, Schundler had made it “crystal clear” that he did not have the precise numbers with him for the judges’ review.
Christie told reporters back then that the takeaway from the episode was “Don’t lie to the governor.”
Schundler responded that the governor was being “dishonest.”
“The governor is embarrassed,” Schundler added at the time “He looks and blames somebody else. And it’s usually not the misstep; it’s usually the coverup that gets people in trouble.”
Schundler declined to comment Thursday. A former mayor in Jersey City, he now serves as a consultant for a charter school in the city.0
I’m just tired of the lies and nonsense coming from the GOP, so this is my little contribution to combat the nonsense!