Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, apologized today and said at a press conference that he was “embarrassed and humiliated” by his staffers who were involved in the so-called “bridgegate scandal.” Gov. Christie’s office closed some busy lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September. Emails from that time indicated some of his staffers were apparently targeting the town of Fort Lee. The town’s mayor did not support the governor’s bid for re-election, and the lane closures were part of their attempt at some sort of political retaliation.
Gov. Chris Christie fires staffer
The Los Angeles Times reports that Chris Christie fired Bridget Kelly, a deputy chief of staff. He said she arranged for the lanes to be closed and said in some of her emails, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” The New Jersey governor said she lied to him about what many are now calling the “bridgegate scandal.”
In addition, Gov. Christie also told his close advisor Bill Stepien to withhold his name from nomination to be chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party. He said that was because Stepien took part in some of the emails and used a tone with the governor called “callous.” He said he would be speaking with the rest of his staff members to determine if there’s anything else he needs to know or whether any of his other staffers or advisors were involved.
Christie visits Fort Lee
The governor made plans to visit Fort Lee, which is the town right across the river from New York City. He wanted to apologize to Mayor Mark Sokolich for the traffic problems caused by his staffers. He also took responsibility for their actions, effectively say that he is responsible for what happens under his watch, even though he didn’t know about it.
On Wednesday, local media reported that four different emergency calls were delayed because of the traffic problems caused by the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. NJ Gov. Christie said he didn’t know about the lane closures or even that Mayor Sokolich didn’t endorse him for re-election. He said he first heard about the story from his communications staff. They saw a story in the New Jersey newspaper the Record, which told about the content of the emails. Christie reportedly asked his staff about the lane closures about a month ago and told them that if they knew anything about those closures, they should tell him right away. However, no one came forward with information.