New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivered a highly anticipated State of the State address on Tuesday amidst the unfolding scandal threatening his political future. Last week, Christie fired a top aide after it emerged she had ordered the closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge, apparently to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for declining to endorse Christie’s bid for re-election. Christie opened his speech with an apology to voters.
Gov. Chris Christie: “Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we’re entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better. Much better. I am the governor, and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch, both good and bad. Now, without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure that this breach of trust does not happen again. But I also want to assure the people of New Jersey today that what has occurred does not define us or our state.”
More developments threaten to expand the controversy. Newly released photos show Christie was with David Wildstein, another official tied to the scandal, at a memorial on September 11, the third day of the lane closings in Fort Lee. Christie has repeatedly claimed he and Wildstein have had little to no contact. State lawmakers are also readying new subpoenas to force the testimony of Christie’s aides. Federal investigators, meanwhile, are probing whether Christie improperly used Superstorm Sandy relief money to fund a multimillion-dollar tourism ad campaign featuring his family.