Christie Apologizes, A contrite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday for a scandal that threatens his political future, announcing that he had fired a senior aide and banished his top campaign adviser for their roles in days of traffic jams orchestrated to punish a small-city Democratic mayor.
Christie at once accepted responsibility as the state’s chief executive but also insisted he had no involvement in shutting down a pair of access lanes to the heavily trafficked George Washington Bridge over four days in early September. The Republican governor said he was “blindsided” by this week’s release of e-mails and text messages detailing his office’s role in the plot to create severe gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J.
In a meandering, two-hour news conference in his office here at the State Capitol, Christie said he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by an episode that left him feeling “heartbroken” and “betrayed.” Despite his reputation for “directness and blunt talk,” the governor said, “I am not a bully.”
Christie, a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, also tried to tamp down allegations that he had nurtured a culture of intimidation in his administration and his political campaigns.
“This is the exception — it is not the rule — of what’s happened over the last four years in this administration,” Christie said. He added that he was “stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.”
Christie repeatedly invoked his ignorance of key events, providing a stark contrast to his carefully cultivated image as a hands-on, can-do chief executive and former prosecutor who helped guide New Jersey in the painful aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.