NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In an open letter to the public and in an interview with Good Morning America, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he should have worn a mask at recent White House events including debate prep with President Donald Trump.

Now he has a strong message for America about taking precautions.

“It was a mistake,” Christie said.

MORE: Read Christie’s Full Statement

New Jersey’s resident tough guy admits he was wrong, and he was scared.

“I was led to believe that, you know, all the people that I was interacting with at the White House had been tested and it gave you a false sense of security,” Christie said.

He spent seven days in ICU at Morristown Medical Center.

“Psychologically, when you’re in isolation, in the intensive care unit with nothing to do but think that part of it is very difficult and it hits you like a freight train,” he said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The former Republican governor says mask wearing should not be a political statement like it has become.

“I think the country is so divided that at times people think that, you know, that they have to say the opposite than what the other party is doing,” Christie said.

Political analyst Jeanette Hoffman says Christie won’t outright denounce the president three weeks from election day.

“It’s a subtle criticism of the president who’s been, you know, kind of wishy washy about the idea of wearing masks,’ Hoffman said.

When asked if Christie is going to ask President Trump to step it up and tell people to mask up, Christie said this:

“Everyone’s going to make their own decisions on that, but I think no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re at a rally for your preferred candidate, whether you’re out at the supermarket, whether you’re at a protest, no matter what you’re doing: You should have a mask on and should try to remain socially distant from folks.”

Christie also promotes opening up the country for the benefit of the economy, and says the American people should be trusted to wear masks and take precautions.

Yet he had a lapse in judgment, and look what happened.

Christie, who is an asthmatic, says he was treated with Remdesivir and antibody treatments.

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