ORLANDO, Fla. -- There's no escape from "Bridgegate" for Gov. Chris Christie.
The New Jersey Republican joined Florida Gov. Rick Scott at the posh Country Club Oaks here Saturday morning, kicking off a weekend of fundraising events in the Sunshine State.
But less than a mile away at Guernsey Park, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, led a small rally where she ripped into Christie, saying he had no business leaving New Jersey the day after subpoenas were served - some going to Christie's closest advisers - in the politically motivated George Washington Bridge lane closures.
There had been speculation that Christie would cancel the trip, but he didn't, and Wassermann Schultz called that "pretty stunning."
"He has 20 subpoenas dropped on him by his own state government," Wasserman Schultz said. "There are countless questions left to be answered that he hasn't answered, and his top priority was to fly to Florida to raise money at private fundraisers at which they're having no public events, they will answer no questions and they (Christie and Scott) won't even appear side by side. Rick Scott doesn't want to be seen publicly with him."
The trip was arranged through the Republican Governors Association, of which Christie is chairman, and is part of an ambitious travel schedule allowing the 51-year-old Christie to test the waters for a 2016 presidential campaign.
The country club entrance was manned by two sheriff's officers, who said the event was by invitation only. An association spokesman said another event later Saturday at the Palm Beach home of sugar baron Jose F. "Pepe" Fanjul Jr. and a Sunday meet-and-greet in North Palm Beach at the home of Home Depot Chairman Kenneth Langone also are off-limits to the public.
Langone toldUSA Todayhe has invited 150 donors.
They'll be asking about the bridge scandal, Langone said.
"I've got to believe one of the questions is ... were you involved in this? Did you know anything about it?" Langone said.
Christie has said he had no knowledge of the plan to close three of the four Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge for four days in September, which caused massive traffic jams in the town.
After emails subpoenaed by the New Jersey Assembly committee investigating the closure uncovered a politically motivated plot to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election, the governor told a national audience at a news conference that he had fired those involved and will fully cooperate with the investigation.
The Republican Governors Association didn't provide an estimate of how much money was expected to be raised during Christie's trip to Florida.
"We won't be sharing details of the fundraisers. They are private," spokesman Jon Thompson said.