NJ Politics Digest: Christie Breaks Silence on Trump Immigration Order, Bridgegate

It's Wednesday morning, and the big news in Trenton is that Gov. Chris Christie took the time to speak to the state media, using the occasion to support President Donald Trump's immigration order, criticize the way it has been implemented and attempt to explain how news reports of the Bridgegate trial were wrong when they said testimony from the trial indicated he knew about the conspiracy as it was happening.

It’s Wednesday morning, and the big news in Trenton is that Gov. Chris Christie took the time to speak to the state media, using the occasion to support President Donald Trump’s immigration order, criticize the way it has been implemented and attempt to explain how news reports of the Bridgegate trial were wrong when they said testimony from the trial indicated he knew about the conspiracy as it was happening.
Christie’s comments come as a new poll shows he has the dubious distinction of being tied for the lowest job approval rating of any governor in state polling history, apparently showing that his new campaign to fight opiod addiction isn’t winning him any favorable points with state voters. Christie also got bad news on the legal front, when a court ruled against efforts to overrule teacher contracts.
In other political news, state Democratic officials are continuing to fight Trump’s immigration order, a Christie-connected firm is being paid even more to bring financial order to cash-strapped Atlantic City and the effort to re-open one of the resort’s closed casinos seems to be facing more hurdles.

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Quote of the Day: “I think the president’s intention here is right. His intention is to try protect our country from terrorist attacks and people who mean to do us harm … The roll-out of this executive order was terrible. The right people were not involved or consulted,” – Gov. Chris Christie, on President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Christie breaks silence with NJ media: Talks immigration, Bridgegate
Breaking nearly five months of silence with the state news media, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that he “doesn’t disagree” with President Trump’s executive order to block refugees from entering the United States, but that “the roll-out of this executive order was terrible.”
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Christie breaks silence, scoffs at ‘loony’ Bridgegate trial claims
Ending a nearly five-month drought on taking questions from New Jersey reporters that began at the start of the Bridgegate trial, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday said he won’t provide answers for every “loony” thing that was said during the trial.
Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Christie: Rollout of Trump travel ban ‘terrible’
Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) is defending President Trump, saying officials poorly rolled out his orders blocking the entry of refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Mark Hensch, The Hill Read more

Christie just made N.J. history. See how bad things have gotten.
Gov. Chris Christie is now tied for the lowest job approval rating of any governor in the history of New Jersey polling.
Claude Brodesser-Akner, NJ.com Read more

Christie hits rock bottom in polls
Former Gov. Brendan Byrne now shares the distinction of being the least popular New Jersey governor in memory with Gov. Chris Christie.
Matt Friedman, Politico Read more

How Christie is helping Trump’s still-operating campaign
Gov. Chris Christie is still helping Donald Trump.
Christie’s leadership political action committee, Leadership Matters for America, rented his fundraising list to Trump’s campaign committee in December, bringing in $133,125, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Christie just a face in the crowd at inauguration
Just another face in the crowd.
The television camera zoomed in on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as he stood on the stage at the swearing-in of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States Jan. 20.
Joseph Albright, Jersey Journal Read more

6 N.J. pols at center of fight against Trump travel ban
Six House Democrats from New Jersey joined 172 of their colleagues in introducing legislation to block President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions.
Jonathan D. Salant, NJ.com Read more

Court denies Christie effort to overrule teacher contracts
New Jersey’s Supreme Court has rejected Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s request to overrule teacher contracts.
The Court on Tuesday denied the administration’s petition but declined to weigh in on the merits of the governor’s legal arguments.
Associated Press Read more

Diane Allen, longtime South Jersey lawmaker, to retire from state Senate
Diane Allen, a Burlington County Republican who has served in the New Jersey Senate for nearly two decades, said Tuesday that she would not seek reelection in November.
Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Read more

Ernst & Young gets raise to help state takeover of Atlantic City
Well, someone is getting a raise.
With the city dealing with a $100 budget shortfall and City Hall workers potentially facing layoffs, the firm advising the state on the city’s finances got a contract extension this month with a $15-an-hour raise.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Plan to reopen Revel in Atlantic City as TEN reportedly hits another snag
Glenn Straub has no plans to run the gaming operations when the shuttered Revel re-opens under the new name TEN as soon as next month.
Jeff Goldman, NJ.com Read more

Plan to save police, fire jobs in Atlantic City with hotel surcharge advances
A bill that would add a temporary $2 surcharge to Atlantic City hotel rooms to help prevent layoffs in the local police and fire departments has cleared it first hurdle in the New Jersey Legislature.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Protesters of Gov. Christie’s equal pay veto find door closed
New Jersey Citizen Action joined local area women in a protest denouncing State Sen. Michael Doherty’s (R-23rd) recent vote against the override of the New Jersey Pay Equity Act, as well as his comments on the Senate floor last Monday.
Dave Hutchinson, NJ.com Read more

N.J. changes marijuana testing methods amid probe of drug lab scandal
New Jersey’s state-run drug laboratories are changing the way they examine marijuana evidence in criminal cases amid a scandal involving a lab employee accused of faking test results, NJ Advance Media has learned.
S.P. Sullivan, NJ.com Read more

Legislators Hold Water-Quality Bill But Rap DEP For Delays
The state’s failure to establish drinking-water standards for a range of toxic contaminants, some recommended a dozen years ago, came under harsh scrutiny and criticism from legislators yesterday.
Tom Johnson, NJSpotlight Read more

Lawmakers Advance Christie Anti-Addiction Agenda With Reservations
State lawmakers agreed yesterday to advance key items of Gov. Chris Christie’s agenda to address New Jersey’s opioid epidemic. Yet many of them remain concerned about the cost of these proposals, the capacity of the treatment system to absorb new patients, and the possibility that the changes envisioned could leave some patients without the help they need.
Lilo Stainton, NJSpotlight Read more

Boy Scouts reverse transgender children ban — NJ transgender boy asked to return
Congratulations, Joe Maldonado. At the age of 8, you have become a hero in the eyes of many. You helped make the path for those who come after you a little bit easier.
Joe is the transgender boy from Secaucus who was kicked out of his North Jersey Cub Scout pack after other Scouts’ parents complained because he was born a girl. Joe’s mother, Kristie Maldonado, had said she was going to file a discrimination complaint against the regional chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.
Joe Votruba, NJ101.5 Read more

UnitedHealthcare gives Camden health-care coalition $15 million, takes Brenner
Jeffrey C. Brenner isn’t changing his office. The primary care physician will still commute across the Ben Franklin Bridge to the same building in Camden, where he founded the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.
Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Read more

As Obamacare deadline looms, customers wonder what’s next
Mark Colegrove was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2014 when he got a potentially life-saving procedure.
Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press Read more

Democrat challenging Booker ally in mayoral primary
A longtime member of the town council is opposing Mayor Tim Dougherty in the Democratic primary.
Rob Jennings, NJ.com Read more

In Pennsauken, the school district changes but the conflicts drag on
In Pennsauken, where tough talk, sharp elbows, and short fuses are hardly unheard of in local politics, officials past and present are at odds over pretty much everything about the public schools – Pennsauken High especially.
Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Read more

Newark mayor urges 56 newly promoted officers to fill ‘vacuum of leadership’
The city police department promoted 56 members Tuesday as it is working to rebuild its ranks after losing more than 500 officers to layoffs and attrition since 2010.
Marisa Iati, NJ.com Read more

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich to speak at Rider U.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is set to speak at Rider University in March.
Cristina Rojas, NJ.com Read more

How many littering tickets are written in N.J. each year?
A lifelong state resident whose fed up with seeing trash on the side of New Jersey roads has a simple question – do any of those slobs ever get a ticket for littering?
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

Police commissioner all smiles after domestic violence arrest
South Hackensack Township Police Commissioner William Regan has been arrested and charged with assaulting his wife, according to a municipal court complaint.
Anthony G. Attrino, NJ.com Read more

N.J. suspends ex-principal’s licenses after cheating accusations
A former principal accused of encouraging teachers to cheat on third-grade state standardized tests has been stripped of her licenses for six months.
Craig McCarthy, NJ.com Read more

Printer closing N.J. facility, laying off 65 employees
Sixty-five employees at a printing business will lose their jobs at the end of March as part of a shutdown of facilities in two states.
Matt Gray, NJ.com Read more

Westminster Choir College musicians sing opposition in 24-hour marathon
Dozens raised their voices Tuesday in a musical protest against the possible sale and relocation of Westminster Choir College’s campus.
Cristina Rojas, NJ.com Read more

NJ Politics Digest: Christie Breaks Silence on Trump Immigration Order, Bridgegate