New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should consider quitting as head of the Republican Governors Association because the fallout from the bridge-gate scandal is too much of a "distraction," talk show host Joe Scarborough said Monday.
"I like Chris. I trust Chris. I still take him at his word. But, I'm always blunt. And the fact is, right now he's a distraction to the RGA," Scarborough, a former Florida congressman, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"If a Republican's job is electing governors, and you've got a guy running the RGA with Republican candidates running away from him, that is a serious problem," he added.
The controversy over the closing of some lanes leading to the highly trafficked George Washington Bridge, purportedly over political payback, has embroiled Christie since it was exposed earlier this year. Christie maintained he had no knowledge of the closure, blaming members of his staff.
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The scandal has eclipsed Christie's potential bid for president in 2016. It has also caused fellow Republicans to avoid direct contact in his recent trips to Florida and Texas to help raise money for Republican candidates.
Scarborough said Christie needs to consider whether the controversy is detracting from fundraising efforts in his position as chairman of the RGA.
"He needs to sit down and do soul searching, and see whether he wants to defend charges against him or continue this. I don't think he can do both," he said.
In a two-hour news conference in January, Christie repeatedly denied any prior knowledge of the closure and explained he learned about it from the media. Scarborough said the explanation sounded the same as President Barack Obama's denials of scandals involving the White House in 2013.
"What's irritated a lot of us Republicans the past year is the fact every time bad news comes out, Barack Obama says, 'Oh, I had no idea until I read about it in the paper. I'm just as angry as you.'
"You can understand why some Republicans would be a little concerned with Chris Christie sounding a lot, in our opinion, like Barack Obama over last year," Scarborough said.
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