NJ Governor Chris Christie fires top aide, denies knowledge of bridge scandal
(TheWrap.com) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie denied any knowledge of the George Washington Bridge scandal during a press conference in Trenton on Thursday. Christie spoke to press shortly after firing a top aide, blaming his staff entirely for ...
(TheWrap.com) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie denied any knowledge of the George Washington Bridge scandal during a press conference in Trenton on Thursday. Christie spoke to press shortly after firing a top aide, blaming his staff entirely for closing down lanes on the busy state entryway, and recognizing their actions were ultimately his responsibility.
"I had no knowledge in this issue, in its planning or execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here -- regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover," Christie told the press after apologizing to his constituents. "This was handled in a callous and indifferent way."
Christie's administration closed down access lanes to the busy bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. as an act of political retribution against the city's mayor, Mark Sokolich, who would not endorse the governor during a reelection race.
A series of e-mails and text messages published earlier this week showed his deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, who was swiftly removed from her post on Thursday morning, was responsible for the scheme, along with Christie's Port Authority appointees, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein. Both resigned in December.
"In the end, I have 65,000 people working for me everyday, and I can not know what each one of them is doing every minute," Christie added. "But that doesn't matter, I'm ultimately responsible for this action."
Christie previously said he did not believe his administration had any role in the lane closures that caused heavy traffic, and stated repeatedly during the press conference that he thought the incident was "a traffic study."
"I don't know if this was a traffic study that morphed into a political vendetta, or a political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study," Christie said. "But we'll find out."
When addressing the alleged act of retribution, Christie said Mayor Sokolich "was never on my radar screen."
"I never saw this as political retribution, because I never thought he did anything to us," Christie added.