New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he feels “exonerated” by a report compiled by lawyers representing his office that clears him of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal.
“I do, but I also always knew that this is where it would end,” Christie told Fox News host Megyn Kelly in an interview that aired Friday on “The Kelly File.” “Because I knew from the beginning I didn’t have anything to do with this and didn’t know anything about it.”
He added that he was ultimately responsible for his staffers’ actions in the lane closing scheme. Kelly then asked whether the American people could trust Christie’s judgement given the string of firings and resignations the scandal caused. The interview was taped before a Friday press conference in which Christie announced Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman David Samson, one of his appointees, had also resigned from his position.
“If you look at the people I’ve surrounded myself with over time, they’re really exemplary, extraordinary people who have helped to produce results that the whole country has come to notice,” the governor responded. “And now it turns out that there were couple people who turned out to be a mistake, that I made a mistake in judging their judgment and their character and I admit that mistake and I’m sorry that it happened.”
“But I can’t, when I work with human beings, be held to a standard of perfection in them or in me,” he added. “All I can say is I’ve learned from this, I’m going to be asking a lot more questions than I used to before and maybe trust less unconditionally.”
The governor declined to contrast his reaction to the bridge scandal to President Barack Obama’s handling of IRS targeting and the Fast and Furious operation, saying only that he acted “decisively” the day he found out his staffers were involved in the lane closures.
Christie also opened up to Kelly about how news of the bridge scandal affected his family. He said his 20-year-old son approached him once to ask if he was involved in the scheme to shut down the lanes on the George Washington Bridge, just to be sure.
“Andrew read everything, watched everything and calls me and comments on it,” Christie added. “And I said, ‘Are things tough for you at school?’ And he’s at Princeton, and he said, ‘No, it’s really no different, Dad, they never liked you here anyway.’”
Watch below, courtesy of Fox News:
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.