VIDEO: Chris Christie Responds to GW Bridge Scandal, Fires Top Aide
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) issued an apology this morning in the face of a controversy over his aides causing a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in September. He said he is "embarrassed and humiliated," but had no knowledge about the politically-motivated plot.
Emails showed that a top staff member of Christie, Bridget Anne Kelly, worked with a Port Authority official to shut down the two bridge lanes, causing massive gridlock in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The motivation was apparently a political vendetta over Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich's refusal to endorse Christie for re-election.
"I come out here today to 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. I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. There's no doubt in my mind that the conduct that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for their appropriate role of government and for the people that we're trusted to serve," said Christie.
Christie announced that Kelly, his deputy chief of staff, has been fired.
Kelly wrote the email that stated, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Port Authority official David Wildstein, a longtime close friend of Christie, responded "Got it."
Christie said this morning that he called a meeting four weeks ago with his senior staff members, telling them they had one hour to disclose any information about involvement in the lane closures.
He said no one came forward with any information, so later that day he claimed in a press conference that no one from his office was involved.
Christie described himself as "heartbroken" that Kelly lied to him, adding he was "blindsided" by yesterday's report.
"I have and will continue to - started yesterday - to once again have personal one-on-one discussions myself with the remaining members of my senior staff to determine if there's any other information that I do not know and need to know in order to take appropriate action. I'm not completed with those interviews yet, but when I am, if there is additional information that needs to be disclosed I will do so, if there's additional actions that need to be taken with my senior staff, I will do so," he said, also vowing to visit Fort Lee and personally apologize to Sokolich.
Christie, viewed as a major contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, expressed disbelief over the "abject stupidity that was shown" by his staff members. He said, however, that he is "nowhere near" making a decision about a presidential run.
Watch Part 1 above, and more below. Stay tuned to Fox News throughout the day for the latest developments and reaction to the press conference.
In the following clip, Christie denied being a "bully" after a reporter questioned whether this incident will give fuel to those who criticize his confrontational style.