He said he saw the emails and text messages for the first time on Wednesday, and was “blindsided” by what he read and outraged by the callous language. He said he was left “heartbroken” and “betrayed” by his tight-knit circle of advisers.
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution,” Christie said of the lane closings. “And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here.”
Kelly hasn’t commented. Christie said he hadn’t spoken to her since the emails were released, saying he didn’t want to be accused of trying to influence a possible witness.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote in August in a message to Wildstein. A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.
In the back-and-forth emails and text messages that followed, Christie loyalists gloated over the traffic jams and called the Fort Lee mayor “an idiot” and “this little Serbian.”
For weeks, Christie had asserted that the closings were not punitive, but part of a traffic study, and that no one on his staff was involved. On Thursday, he acknowledged that was a lie, because his staff misled him.
Christie said he believed his staff in part because he had never heard of Sokolich and had no idea the Christie camp was even seeking the Democrat’s endorsement.
Still, the governor said: “I am responsible for what happened. I am sad to report to the people of New Jersey that we fell short.”