New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says he had no idea the leader of the state’s national guard exceeded the military’s weight requirements for years.
A Washington Post investigation published Monday into dysfunction in the ranks of the New Jersey National Guard found that its leader dodged the military’s physical fitness requirements. Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff was formally reprimanded by the Pentagon last year for being overweight and skipping out on fitness tests, according to documents the newspaper obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Christie’s office said the governor had been unaware of the reprimand.
“The Governor has expressed directly to the General that his failure to meet that standard or to provide notification of his formal reprimand is both unacceptable and disappointing,” Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts told the Post in an email, adding that the governor gave Cunniff 90 days to get in shape and “meet his obligations.”
The statement from Christie’s office had shades of the governor’s prior statements on the so-called “BridgeGate” scandal. Christie repeatedly insisted he had “no knowledge or involvement” in his aides’ scheme to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in order to exact political retribution on a Democratic mayor who declined to endorse the governor’s re-election effort.
In a statement released by the state National Guard, Cunniff admitted that he hadn’t met the Air Force’s fitness requirements in years.
“Many people struggle with weight control — I am not immune from this,” he said, as quoted by the Post. “However, I do recognize that military members and leaders, like myself, are held to a higher standard. I take this matter seriously and am taking the necessary steps to remedy this issue.”