Michael Drewniak, a long-time spokesman for Chris Christie whose profane tussles with reporters came to light with the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal, is leaving the New Jersey governor’s administration.
Drewniak, 53, once described by Christie as “fabulously bald,” declined to comment in an e-mail on Tuesday beyond confirming his departure. His last day is Friday, according to Kevin Roberts, another Christie spokesman.
The departure comes as Christie contemplates joining a crowded Republican field of potential 2016 presidential candidates. The governor, who enjoyed record approval at home during his first term, has seen those ratings sink to lows as he deals with New Jersey’s lackluster economic recovery and the controversy over the 2013 politically motivated closings of traffic lanes onto the George Washington Bridge.
A former reporter for the Star-Ledger newspaper, Drewniak worked for about a decade at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark and was a spokesman for Christie when the Republican served as U.S. attorney from 2002 to 2008. After Christie was elected governor, Drewniak joined him in the state capital. The governor attended Drewniak’s 2012 wedding to Nicole Davidman, a Republican fundraiser.
Drewniak was quoted in several e-mails released in January 2014 by the legislative committee examining the lane closings. In those e-mails, he was dismissive of press reports of the lane closings, and called one journalist “such a (expletive) mutt.” Drewniak testified in May 2014 before the committee, telling lawmakers he didn’t know of the plan to close the lanes.
The spokesman’s departure was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.