Chris Christie Sticks to His Story: ‘I Had Nothing to Do With This’

The New Jersey governor said in an interview that he still doesn’t even know if a traffic study was done.

NRCC keynoter: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
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Jack Fitzpatrick
Feb. 3, 2014, 3:55 p.m.

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie took ques­tions Monday about the “Bridgeg­ate” scan­dal fol­low­ing a new ac­cus­a­tion from a Port Au­thor­ity of­fi­cial. And nearly a month after first ad­dress­ing the top­ic, his main point was the same.

“I had noth­ing to do with this,” Christie said in an in­ter­view with loc­al ra­dio sta­tion NJ 101.5. “No know­ledge, no au­thor­iz­a­tion, no plan­ning, noth­ing.”

Christie did not spe­cific­ally ad­dress the claims made by Dav­id Wild­stein, a Port Au­thor­ity of­fi­cial whose law­yer said last week that there’s evid­ence Christie knew about lane clos­ures on the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge as they happened in Septem­ber.

But on Monday, Christie re­peatedly said he had no part in the plot. He re­coun­ted how he learned of the scan­dal, say­ing he was told the lanes were closed for a traffic study and that he knew noth­ing about polit­ic­al re­venge against Fort Lee May­or Mark Soko­lich un­til he read about it in The Wall Street Journ­al on Jan. 8.

In fact, Christie said, he still does not know if a traffic study was done.

“I still don’t know wheth­er there was a traffic study that morph­ed in­to some polit­ic­al shenanigans,” he said. “Or did it start as some polit­ic­al shenanigans that turned in­to a traffic study?”

Christie has em­phat­ic­ally in­sisted that in­form­a­tion about lane clos­ures would not have made it up to his of­fice and that his aides could have taken the ac­tion en­tirely without his know­ledge. He im­me­di­ately fired Brid­get Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff, after news of the scheme broke.

When asked by in­ter­view­er Eric Scott about how his of­fice could have sought re­tri­bu­tion against a may­or without his know­ledge, Christie re­it­er­ated that he del­eg­ated enough au­thor­ity so that he would not have known any­thing about traffic is­sues.

“Let’s face it, Eric. There’s traffic every day,” he said.

Christie also said the me­dia has fo­cused more than the pub­lic on the scan­dal, a point some­what val­id­ated by the fact that no listen­ers called in with more ques­tions on the lane-clos­ings. He answered ques­tions on a wide range of top­ics, in­clud­ing pen­sion re­form, in­come taxes, and land­lord com­plaints.

Des­pite doubts about Christie’s polit­ic­al fu­ture, in­clud­ing his chances in the 2016 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, Christie said he’s con­fid­ent that he’s still pop­u­lar among New Jer­sey voters.

“They know the truth,” Christie said. “They know me. They just reelec­ted me re­sound­ingly.”

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