NJ Gov Christie Denies Role In Political Retaliation Scandal, Apologizes for His ‘Staff’s Abject Stupidity’
At a news conference today, Governor Chris Christie apologized to the people of New Jersey who were affected by a scandal of political revenge dating back to last September. After Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich refused to endorse Christie for re-election, lanes on the city’s George Washington Bridge were closed down for four days. Yesterday, e-mails emerged validating the mayor’s accusations that the closures were based on political revenge and Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, was linked to the event that “embarrassed and humiliated” the governor.
Fox News reports,
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie publicly apologized Thursday for controversial lane closures last year that were arranged by his associates as an apparent act of political revenge, and fired a top aide who was at the center of the scandal.
“I come out here to apologize to the people of New Jersey,” he said. “I am embarrassed and humiliated.”
The governor added: “I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.”
The governor is trying to get a handle on the scandal, which could threaten the potential 2016 presidential candidate’s political aspirations. He’s also facing various legal inquiries. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey confirmed Thursday that it is now “reviewing” the matter to “determine whether a federal law was implicated.”
Christie stressed Thursday that he was not involved and that while his political style is tough, “I am not a bully.” He said repeatedly that he was betrayed by his staff.
Christie maintained that, until this week, he did not know his staff was involved in the incident last September, when lanes at the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., were closed for four days. For months, Christie faced accusations the lanes were blocked in retaliation over Mayor Mark Sokolich’s refusal to endorse him for re-election last November.
Christie repeatedly denied the charges, until emails surfaced Wednesday showing the governor’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, played a role.
“I was blind-sided,” Christie said Thursday, claiming Kelly “lied” to him when he asked senior staffers weeks ago about the lane closures.