Tags: Chris Christie | Bridge-gate | Scandal

Chris Christie on Bridge-gate: 'The Most Abjectly Stupid Things I've Ever Seen'

("CBS This Morning")

By    |   Monday, 07 November 2016 08:00 AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first interview in response to his former allies being convicted of creating a major traffic jam for political retaliation.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning" Monday, the Republican governor denied that he was involved in the plot to punish Fort Lee's Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing his reelection bid in 2013.

When CBS host Charlie Rose asked why his aides did it, Christie said, "I wish I knew, Charlie. I wish I knew. I never could figure it out. It was one of the most abjectly stupid things I've ever seen."

The plot was unnecessary, Christie said."You know me. I'm pretty good at this political game. I'm up by 25 points in a reelection in a blue state. And they decide they're going to create a traffic jam in a town that's a Democrat town, that I wound up winning two months later in the election?"

Christie said his former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointee Bill Baroni, and former ally David Wildstein were behind the plot.

"Here we are, three investigations later, federal grand jury investigation, an investigation by a Democratic-led legislature, and what's the conclusion? The conclusion is that there were three people responsible," Christie said.

Kelly and Baroni were found guilty Nov. 4 of all counts against them for their roles in creating road closures in 2013 that lasted five days. Wildstein pleaded guilty and appeared as the government's star witness.

Baroni said he told Christie about the plot while they were at the 9/11 Memorial and that Christie laughed about it. The governor told Rose he did not remember that exchange. "If they would have told me that, 'Hey we're creating traffic in the George Washington Bridge in order to punish the mayor for not endorsing you,' I would have remembered that."

The public believed Christie was involved in the scandal that became known as "Bridge-gate" because he did not defend himself, due to allowing the judicial process to run its course. "And now I can talk," he said. 

Rose asked if the Bridge-gate investigation played a part in Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump passing over Christie for vice president. Christie said Trump never told him he was being considered for the spot, but he was being considered. "I was among the last two," he told Rose.

"You don't think it had any impact?" Rose asked.

Christie responded, "I didn't say that. I can't measure — you'd have to ask Donald Trump. But Donald Trump didn't call me and say, 'You're not going to be vice president because of Bridge-gate."

Christie still supports Trump, but denied he wanted a role in a Trump administration. "I don't necessarily want to be anything, except helpful to him."

While looking back over his political career, Christie said he was not ready to be president during his first attempt in 2012, but he was ready in 2016. "You don't want to be the dog who catches the garbage truck, Charlie, and figuring out what to do once you get there."

The governor does not intend to run for elected office again, saying, "Right now I don't, but you know, you never say never in this life."

According to The Washington Post, Christie's career was harmed by the scandal and "it taints his legacy," said political science and law professor Brigid Harrison.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first interview in response to his former allies being convicted of creating a major traffic jam for political retaliation.
Chris Christie, Bridge-gate, Scandal
Monday, 07 November 2016 08:00 AM
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