Gov. Chris Christie leaves office with the lowest approval rating of any New Jersey governor in history, and is now "just a bad memory," according to The New York Times editorial board.
Although Christie was once popular in New Jersey for his "reforms" and his "tough-talking style," his popularity sank following the "Bridgegate" scandal and his failed bid for the White House.
"Christie will probably never shake free of the scandal known as Bridgegate, the 2013 plot by some of his underlings to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge to make life miserable for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee and his constituents," the board writes.
The paper notes Christie has denied any involvement in the scheme.
"He simply doesn't get it," the board writes. "Those minions would never have dared to gleefully inflict pain on a municipality if they believed for a second that doing so would displease the boss. That they thought the traffic nightmare they created would tickle Mr. Christie says as much about him as it does about them."
In his final address on the floor of the State House, Christie noted that nine years ago, before he took office, New Jersey was "on the brink of financial ruin," according to the Times.
Although New Jersey's unemployment rate has fallen by half, it remains above the national average, and Christie's public transit and road projects nearly caused the state to go bankrupt.
"Enduring memories of his tenure will be of those traffic jams, of the governor happily sunning himself last July on a beach that was closed to the public during a budget dispute, of Mr. Christie standing almost worshipfully behind Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign like a footman out of 'Downton Abbey.'"
Although Christie told NJ Advance Media in a final interview that New Jerseyans will "miss me when I'm gone," the Times isn't so optimistic.
"Maybe some day," the paper writes. "But this isn't that day."
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