The Washington Post

Christie: Bridge scandal the ‘toughest time in my life professionally’


ABC US News | ABC Business News

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says in a new ABC News interview that what his aides did when they shut down two access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., to the George Washington Bridge was "inexplicably stupid" and he insisted that he does not recall discussing the matter with a Port Authority appointee at the center of the episode at the time it was happening.

Christie, in his first interview since his marathon press conference in January, continued to maintain his innocence in the bridge scandal.

"Sometimes, people do inexplicably stupid things," he told Diane Sawyer. "And that's what makes it so hard then, as the guy in charge. None of it made any sense to me." Anyone who knows him, added the governor, would know that doing something "inexplicably stupid" would not please him.

Earlier Thursday, a lawyer hired by Christie released his report into the matter, absolving the governor of any knowledge or responsibility. Christie reiterated that point to Sawyer and said he does not think the behavior of those involved in the incident was "inspired" by him.

"This report says that I had no knowledge of it before it happened nor did I authorize it or have anything to do with it. And that's the truth," he said.

The review found that Port Authority appointee David Wildstein hatched the apparently politically motivated plan to snarl traffic. According to the review, Wildstein, who has since resigned, told a Christie spokesman that he informed the governor about a traffic study on the bridge at the time of the jam. Christie said he has no recollection of such a conversation and that Wildstein most definitely did not inform him he was snarling traffic for political retribution.

"I'll tell you what he didn't say. He didn't say, 'By the way governor, I'm closing down some lanes at the George Washington Bridge to stick it to the mayor.' That I'd remember," said Christie.

The governor said that the episode has been the most politically trying of his life.

“It's been a very, very tough time professionally,” he explained, adding that he has had trouble eating and sleeping at times. “Not the toughest time in my life, but certainly the toughest time in my life professionally."

Critics of Christie responded to review released Thursday with some skepticism. State lawmakers and a federal prosecutor are separately looking into the matter. For his part, Christie rejected the notion that he would get special treatment by the lawyers he hired to conduct the review.

"They're not going to whitewash anything for me," said Christie.

The governor said the traffic scandal made him feel "taken advantage of" and that he "let people down" by not knowing about it. He said that he does not believe it has tarnished his reputation ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run, which he does not intend to decide on until "a year from now."

"I think they love me in Iowa, too," Christie said, adding, "I've been there a lot."

Updated at 7:12 p.m.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
The Post's Dan Balz says ...
This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Listen
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race
Most Read
Failed to render /WEB-INF/jsp/features/most/sidebar/feature.jsp. Cause: An exception occurred processing JSP page /WEB-INF/jsp/features/most/sidebar/feature.jsp at line 116 113: ${globemail} 114: 115: 116: <%=list.get(0) %> 117: 118: 119: <%=list.get(1) %> Stacktrace:. See Server Logs for detail.

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.