Reports of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's demise turned out to be greatly exaggerated–especially at MSNBC.
From the start, Christie emphatically denied any knowledge or involvement by his administration members closing traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge to create huge bottlenecks in Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly for political reasons.
In spite of no evidence to suggest Christie was lying, many on MSNBC gleefully suggested the potential 2016 Republican contender was finished during months of continuous coverage of the saga. Both liberal pundits and supposedly straight-news broadcasters had no problem calling it the "Chris Christie scandal" or the "Chris Christie bridge scandal."
Christie had already been cleared in one internal investigation, and news broke last week that the U.S. Justice Department has to date found no evidence Christie knew about the lane closures in advance.
Yet All In with Chris Hayes‘ eponymous host promoted a petition in February calling for Christie to resign during an interview with the Working Families Party's Dan Cantor. For his part, Cantor said Christie would likely resign over the scandal.
The Last Word host Lawrence O'Donnell said Bridgegate, in his opinion, "has already ended Chris Christie's political future." After a lengthy January press conference when Christie stated he was "humiliated by the conduct" of some on his team, O'Donnell said Christie's "presidential hopes ended with those words."
"Chris Christie's presidential campaign is already over," O'Donnell said at one point.
Chris Matthews, for his part, blasted the entire affair as "Nixonian" over and over, again, despite the fact Christie was not directly implicated.
Perhaps the most humorous reaction on MSNBC was courtesy of contributor Zerlina Maxwell, who called the prospect of Christie in the White House "terrifying" in the wake of the lane closures.
"I think this completely makes him unfit for higher office," she said on The Ed Show. "As Commander-in-Chief, you're in charge of the nuclear launch codes. You can't have instances of political retribution."
You heard that right. Maxwell implied Christie would use nuclear weapons against any political foes if he was the president. Fellow panelist and New Jersey assemblyman Gordon Johnson briefly looked at the camera in apparent surprise while Maxwell uttered that bizarre bit of commentary.