Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday expressed regret for not wearing a mask during a White House event honoring Judge Amy Coney Barrett and during his debate preparations with President Trump, following his recent hospitalization after contracting COVID-19.
According to the New York Times on Thursday, Christie said he was “wrong” not to wear a mask at an event held in the White House Rose Garden late last month honoring Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
Christie, who spent days in the intensive care unit of the Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey after he contracted COVID-19 at the same time others in Trump’s orbit did earlier this month, told the Times in a statement that he believed he was in a “safe zone” at the White House while there, but urged people to comply with mask wearing and social distancing.
Christie also assisted Trump in preparing for his first presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, alongside Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
“I believed when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day,” Christie told the Times in a statement. “I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team.”
Christie told the Times that he hopes his experience with COVID-19 demonstrates to the public why they should comply with CDC guidelines in public regardless of location and to wear a mask.
Contrasting Trump’s efforts to portray himself as a strongman who beat COVID-19 and departed Walter Reed following four days of treatment, Christie — who was released from the hospital last Saturday and says he has been cleared to have regular contact with others — told the Times that the novel coronavirus is “something to take very seriously” and that “the ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly.”
According to the Times, although Christie still suffers from some fatigue, it is nowhere near the levels he experienced when he first contracted COVID-19.
The Times noted that Christie did not blame Trump — who has downplayed his COVID-19 diagnosis as “a blessing from God” following his release from Walter Reed — and admitted to having a false sense of safety due to daily COVID-19 testing requirements for everyone around the President.
“I don’t know who infected me and I don’t know how frequently he was tested,” Christie told the Times, referring to Trump.
Regarding the White House Rose Garden event for Barrett late last month, Christie told the Times that he was in the third row for the event and that attendees were told that everyone in the first three rows tested negative for COVID-19 that day.
“I shouldn’t have relied on that,” Christie told the Times.
According to the Times, Christie has not heard from the White House regarding contact-tracing, but local officials have reached out to him for those purposes.