New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Thursday morning that the media showed its bias in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by hammering him on the BridgeGate scandal while letting the former secretary of state off easy for conducting official business over private email.
Christie was asked on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” about the media coverage of the 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge compared to Clinton’s private emails. The governor said he believed that BridgeGate was “much more covered” at the height of the scandal in spring 2014.
“Has there been coverage of the e-mail situation with the secretary? Absolutely,” he said. “But the intensity of the coverage and the relentlessness of the coverage is different and that’s where the bias is revealed.”
Christie said that news coverage of the bridge affair 15 months ago painted him as “guilty,” even though he said during a January 2014 news conference that he had “no knowledge or involvement” in the lane closures.
He then criticized Clinton’s handling of the secret email account, arguing that he would have been excoriated in the press had he taken the same tack during the BridgeGate scandal.
“If I had come out the day after the BridgeGate thing was announced and said, ‘By the way, all my emails are on a private server and I deleted a whole bunch of them and I destroyed the server. But you need to take my word for it, the emails had nothing to do with the bridge stuff.’ Can you only imagine what the reaction would’ve been?” Christie said. “Yet today we don’t talk about the email situation with Secretary Clinton anymore. It’s like it went away. So I do believe that there is an absolute bias and a rush to judgment.”
Christie did have a mishap involving deleted communications during the bridge affair, however.
A Christie staffer told state lawmakers in summer 2014 that she sent the governor a text message regarding testimony one of his former allies implicated in the scandal, ex-Port Authority executive Bill Baroni, previously gave before legislators about the lane closures being ordered as part of a traffic study. Baroni was indicted earlier this month for his part in orchestrating the lane closures to punish a Democratic mayor who refused to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign.
The staffer told lawmakers she’d deleted that message. Christie said he had no recollection of receiving it.