NBC anchor Chuck Todd called New Jersey’s Chris Christie “a man on an island” after the George Washington Bridge scandal, pointing out that very few Republican leaders rushed to the governor’s defense.
Todd discussed the scandal — which exploded earlier this week after emails from several Christie aides revealed his office’s involvement in vindictive political payback — with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday. The reporter claimed that “as long as everything he said is true and there is no smoking gun that he ordered the ‘Code Red,’ to borrow a phrase, then this is a survivable thing for him.”
But Todd also said that even if Christie come out alive, reaction to the controversy proves he has a long road to the presidency in 2016:
TODD: But there is sort of some larger things that I’ve noticed yesterday, that I think will show that this could be a very rough year for him. Number one, he’s a man on an island.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, is he.
TODD: It was amazing how few Republicans –
SCARBOROUGH: It’s unbelievable.
TODD: Yes, how few Republicans — you know, this is sort of the price maybe that he is paying for, you know, being comfortable beating up conservatives when he had to, during the Sandy feud or whatever your want to talk about. Whatever the reasoning is, it doesn’t seem as if there’s a lot of Republicans willing to rally around him.
Todd later described the Republican response as “crickets”; despite being head of the Republican Governors Association, only South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley came to his defense yesterday.
The NBC host believes many influential Republicans are almost gleeful at the stumble by a powerful presidential rival. “He’s an aggressive, ambitious politician,” Todd explained, “and as you know, Joe, politics are very competitive industry. I think there are a lot more people who are his peers and competitors who are happy today, saying ‘Hey, look who got his comeuppance.”
“Rather than thinking, ‘Oh man, this is bad for the party, one of the party’s stars is in trouble, how can I help him’ — he’s not getting that kind of empathy this morning,” Todd concluded. “He’s getting the ‘Oh look, he’s down? Great, I get to pass him on the track.’”
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