New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement Wednesday that he had had no knowledge of the politically motivated closure of several lanes of the George Washington bridge last year, saying he had been “misled by a staffer.”
Wednesday morning, The New York Times and several other publications obtained emails that showed Christie aides were closely involved in shutting down several lanes on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge in September, a closure that caused immense gridlock in Fort Lee and was intended as retaliation against the mayor of that city, who had declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid. The report turned what had initially been rumor mongering into a potential scandal.
Following the reports, Christie, a likely 2016 Republican presidential hopeful, went radio silent, canceling a press conference scheduled for earlier on Wednesday.
Wednesday afternoon, he put out a statement condemning the politically motivated bridge closure, and saying this was the first he had heard of his staff’s involvement.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable,” Christie said. “I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”
“One thing is clear: This type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better,” he went on. “This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”