CNN host S.E. Cupp offered advice to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday in the wake of increasingly damning allegations related to the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge: quit now and live to run for president another day.
“I’ll tell you what will happen: his supporters, both in New Jersey and across the nation will come out,” Cupp argued to colleague Jake Tapper. “He will be a martyr and a hero, and over the next two years, he’ll quietly go about plotting a presidential campaign.”
Tapper pointed out that Christie was not apologetic following reports that members of his staff orchestrated the gridlock to punish Fort Lee, New Jersey Mayor Mark Sokolich for not joining other Democrats in endorsing Christie’s re-election bid. Instead, Christie said in a statement that he was “misled” by a staff member, and vowed, “People will be held responsible for their actions.”
However, state Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D), who is overseeing the investigations, was quoted as saying that either Christie “doesn’t know what’s going on in his front office or that there’s lying going on,” adding that the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee has the power to subpoena him.
“You’re saying [Christie] should resign if he was directly involved,” Tapper said to Cupp.
“We’ve talked about the way to go about this,” Cupp explained. “If you know it’s gonna come out, get ahead of it. Now he’s saying he wasn’t involved. I hope that’s true.”
But if Christie — a presumptive favorite to seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination — was aware, Cupp said, resigning would allow the issue to “be done” by the time it was time to start that campaign.
“He’ll say, ‘What do you want from me? I resigned. I did what’s best for New Jersey. I made a mistake, I took responsibility for it, and now I want to be your president,’” Cupp argued.
Politico Senior Writer Mark Thrush criticized the whole affair as “clown-car stuff,” arguing that it spoke to a management culture that was out of control.
“If you’re running for president, as we know from looking at the rollout of Obamacare, for instance, management is th key,” Thrush told Tapper. “This does not exactly point to a guy who’s got control of his own troops.”
But Tapper told his panel that Christie’s statement was not enough to quell the controversy.
“We need to hear more,” he said. “We need explanations.”
Watch the discussion, as aired Wednesday on CNN, below.