Christie On Bridgegate: ‘Let’s Stop Reading The Newspapers’

Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday to “stop reading the newspapers” when NBC host Chuck Todd asked him about his relation to the recent ouster of a United Airlines chief.

The chief executive officer of United Continental Holdings was ousted last week after an investigation into his relationship with the Port Authority. It called into question David Samson, who was previously the agency’s former chairman and appointed by Christie, who is also currently under investigation.

On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Todd asked Christie, “what should we take away from this as Americans when we think about you, either you had bad judgement in the people you picked or you created a climate where people thought they could operate this way?”

“Neither,” Christie responded.

“For 13 years I have been in public life, both as U.S. Attorney and as Governor. And I’ll tell you, I’ve set an incredibly high standard for all of our people to have to reach every day. And I hold them to that standard. And here’s what a real leader does. You can’t, when you have 60,000 people working for you, Chuck, determine,” Christie said.

But, Todd interjected and the two began to talk over each other.

“Yeah but Samson is not 60,000 — this is the Port Authority. This is as big of an appointment as you make in New Jersey, is it not?” he asked Christie.”

“First of all, you have absolutely no idea. You have no idea as you sit here today that he did anything wrong, nor does anybody else. And so let’s stop just reading the newspapers, OK?” Christie said.

“Let’s stop reading the newspapers and just blathering back what is that, OK? Here’s the bottom line. When you have all these folks working for you, and David included, the fact is that you hold them to high standards,” Christie continued. “And if they don’t meet those high standards, what a decisive leader does, is you take action and you terminate them. And that’s what you do if you don’t think they’ve been held to the standards. That’s the standard I hold myself to and everyone else to.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jerde is a newswriter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Columbus Dispatch. She graduated from Ohio University. Send emails to sara@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow her @SaraJerde.
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