New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave a press conference today, addressing the release of documents showing one of his top aides was involved in the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September.
The press conference ran 1 hour and 49 minutes, with an opening statement of contrition and a great many questions from reporters.
“I apologise to the people of New Jersey,” Christie said. “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.”
He later added, “I am sick over this.”
Christie announced that he has fired Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff at the center of the new documents.
“I terminated her employment because she lied to me,” Christie said, bluntly.
Christie said that he was “heartbroken” that he had been betrayed by a member of his staff. He said she was “stupid” and “deceitful.”
“I am a very sad person today,” Christie said. “A person close to me betrayed me. I am a sad guy standing here today.”
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution,” Christie said. He said that until Wednesday, he was still convinced that the lane closures were part of a traffic study.
“There’s this reputation out there of me being a micromanager. I’m not,” he said.
Christie also said during the press conference that he has instructed Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager, to withdraw his name from his candidacy for state party chairman, as well as from his consulting position with the Republican Governors Association. Stepien was also involved in the emails.
“I am responsible for what happens on my watch, the good and the bad,” Christie said.
A series of emails and text messages released Wednesday revealed that Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top appointees at the Port Authority were deeply involved in a decision to close a pair of access lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) had declined to endorse Christie for re-election, unlike many other Democratic municipal officials in the state.
Christie said Thursday that he will go to Fort Lee later in the day to apologise to the mayor and the people of the town, “face to face.”
Christie released a statement Wednesday, saying he was “outraged” and that he had been “misled” by a member of his staff. Today is the first time he will address the new revelations at length.
Here’s the video of the first part of his press conference:
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