Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended Chris Christie over the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal on Sunday, comparing it to the IRS targeting scandal that happened under President Barack Obama’s watch.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Giuliani disputed the notion put forth by critics that Christie knew his administration had ordered the closing of highway lanes in the city of a political opponent last year.
To make his point, Giuliani referenced last year’s revelation that the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups for review — something Obama claimed he had no knowledge of until it hit the papers.
“How did President Obama not know about the IRS targeting right wing groups?” Giuliani said.
“This is what happens in political operations,” Giuliani continued. “I mean, people get wrong messages. It happens all the time. It happened. I go back to the IRS scandal. The people in the IRS though President Obama wanted them to do this. President Obama didn’t want them to do this. But they got the sense because of that culture that they were supposed to target right wing groups. It was totally wrong.”
He added: “I think it was totally wrong for these people to have interpreted Chris Christie this way.”
Giuliani said Christie has “handled” the scandal “the best way you can possibly handle it.”
“He’s held a press conference, he’s flatly denied it,” he said. “If for some reason it’s not true, the man has put his political career completely at risk. If it turns out that there’s some evidence that he knew about it, he’s taken the complete risk that his political career is over.”
Christie apologized last week and fired his deputy chief of staff after it was revealed political motivations were behind the closing of busy highway lanes leading to a bridge between New Jersey and New York City last year. Christie said he had no direct knowledge of the closings.