TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday for the “abject stupidity” of his staff, insisting he had no idea anyone around him had engineered traffic jams as retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer described Christie’s appearance at a Thursday news conference as “bedraggled, puffy, (with) sleepless eyes and a determination to re-establish his reputation as a straight shooter.”
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue. In this planning, or its execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here, regardless of what the facts ultimately uncovered, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way,” Christie said.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Thursday night, Christie said he fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly “because she lied to me” when he demanded weeks ago that anyone who knew anything about the episode come forward.
“I am a very sad person today. That’s the emotion I feel,” Christie said. “A person close to me betrayed me. A person I gave high governmental office to, betrayed me. A person I trusted and counted on for five years betrayed me.”
The governor also arrived at Fort Lee’s municipal building shortly after 4 p.m. to apologize in person to Mayor Mark Sokolich. Christie met with Sokolich, the mayor’s wife and son for about 40 minutes, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
“I apologized, that’s what I came here to do,” Christie said outside Borough Hall. “A very warm and productive meeting between me and the mayor.”
Sokolich said earlier in the day that he accepted the governor’s apology.
“There’s not an ounce of venom in my system. I take no pleasure in hearing about people getting fired, in hearing about people losing their careers, in hearing about people being embarrassed in the national media setting,” Sokolich said.