Faced with more questions about the closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge last year, Chris Christie clarified the steps he took in the aftermath of learning about the role members of his administration played.
A skeptical audience member took issue with the New Jersey governor’s comments suggesting he fired former aide Bridget Anne Kelly for deceiving him, but not necessarily because of her involvement in the bridge’s closure. Christie affirmed that she “absolutely” would have been fired either way, and that he started from the standpoint that he would fire someone for lying to him and went from there.
“The offense, first and foremost, is not being honest with the person you’re working for,” he said in Flemington, N.J. “The secondary offense was, if she had been honest and told me, she would have been fired anyway.”
Christie repeatedly called the actions “wrong and abusive,” but refused to touch on whether the closure was illegal, calling it inappropriate for him to discuss while prosecutors are investigating.
“I will tell you, as the guy in charge, that when you can’t count on people to tell you the truth in an enterprise this size, you’re sunk,” he continued. “That’s, I think, why I made the emphasis on it that I did, but please don’t take from it that I thought the underlying conduct was somehow okay, because it was not.”
Protesters have staged interruptions over the controversy at Christie’s previous town halls, but today’s questioner is the first to ask the governor about it directly.