TRENTON, N.J. (AP/PIX11) — New Jersey Gov. Christie says he knew nothing of a plan by some of his closest aides to create traffic jams as political payback to a town mayor.
“I apologize to the people of New Jersey, I apologize to the people of Fort Lee and I apologize to the members of the state legislature,” Gov. Christie said at a press conference Thursday. “I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.”
Christie says he had “no knowledge or involvement in this issue in its planning or execution.” He adds that he was stunned by the “abject stupidity that was shown.”
The governor also says he is responsible for their actions. Christie said he terminated the employment oh his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, Thursday morning.
“I terminated her employment, because she lied to me,” Christie said.
Emails and texts show that she arranged lane closings to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, who didn’t endorse Christie for re-election. The closings created gridlock for several days last fall.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly reportedly wrote in an email.
“I am what I am, but I’m not a bully,” Christie said of the fiasco.
Christie says Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich wasn’t “on his radar” and he can’t recall seeking his endorsement. “I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup,” Christie said.
The scandal threatens to upend Christie’s second term and likely run for president in 2016.