New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie believes he performed his duty “as well or better” than any previous governors despite his record-low approval rating and the numerous scandals that marked his final months in office.
“I feel like I’ve done the job as well or better than anybody who’s ever had it,” Christie told The New York Times during a sweeping interview conducted in the final days of his term. “Would there be little things I would do differently? Sure. But over the sweep of the eight years, I think when I leave, people are going to see just how hard this stuff is. This is a tough state to govern.”
Christie defended his tenure in response to questions about his approval rating, which reached a record low 15 percent in the spring of 2017, and the multiple scandals that his administration confronted during his second term. Chief among them was the so-called “Bridgegate” incident, in which senior members of Christie’s team were implicated in intentionally tying up traffic on the George Washington Bridge in order to punish a local mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s reelection bid.
Two administration officials were eventually indicted in connection to the scandal. Despite Christie’s insistence that he was unaware of the episode, the resulting negative publicity certainly harmed his approval ratings and may well have cost him an invitation to join his longtime friend, President Donald Trump’s, ticket.
The long time governor told TheNYT he believes New Jerseyans viewed him as tough but fair until the Bridgegate incident morphed his image into that of a bully.
“The theory behind Bridgegate was it was an act of bullying, right?” Christie said. “And people saw me as a tough guy, but as long as you don’t go over that line that’s drawn somewhere between being tough and principled and being a bully, they’re O.K. with it. But Bridgegate seemed to indicate to them that that line had been crossed.”
Christie’s reputation took another hit after he was photographed enjoying his private access to a state owned beach on July 4 weekend after a government shut down forced him to close the rest of New Jersey state beaches. (RELATED: Chris Christie Lounges On Beaches Closed To Public During Government Shutdown)
Christie insisted throughout the interview that he maintains a close relationship with Trump, despite his removal from his position as head of Trump transition’s team and the lack of offers for more senior administration positions.
“I don’t feel like he’s been disloyal to me,” Christie said. “It’s been a long time he and I’ve been friends, and talking with each other, through a number of different jobs for me and a number of different situations and iterations for him.”
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