Ken Langone: Donors lining up to see Chris Christie
by MAGGIE HABERMAN - Politico
Ken Langone, a Republican mega-donor and supporter of Chris Christie, said more than 500 people have asked to attend an event he’s holding in Florida with the New Jersey governor and many of them have praised how Christie has dealt with the scandal that’s embroiled his office.
“We were expecting 200 people” when the invitations first went out, Langone said in an interview with POLITICO.
Among those expected to attend the event is GOP donor Stanley Druckenmiller who, along with Langone, was among 40 donors and Republican elites who in 2011 urged Christie to run for president.
As for how Christie has weathered the bridge traffic controversy, Langone said of Christie, “The thing that impresses me is he made damn certain the world knows he doesn’t want anyone around him who (engages in) that kind of behavior.” He called Bridget Kelly, a Christie aide who the governor fired after learning of her role in the traffic congestion scheme, as an anomaly.
Kelly sent an email to Port Authority official David Wildstein, a Christie appointee, saying it was time for “traffic problems in Fort Lee” last August. A month later, in an act of apparent political retaliation, the Port Authority closed lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge, prompting traffic chaos.
The Home Depot cofounder suggested that the scandal is being overplayed.
“Let’s have parallels – Watergate and Benghazi,” said Langone, arguing that no one has been properly held accountable for the 2012 attacks on the diplomatic compound in Libya that left four Americans dead. In the case of Watergate, he said, the improper behavior clearly stemmed from the Richard Nixon himself. Christie has insisted he was unaware of the traffic jam plan.
The New Jersey governor has also shown a rare ability to work in a bipartisan manner, Langone said.
“The people of New Jersey affirmed him,” he said. “We all desperately pray for leadership at the national level where that can happen.”