Chris Christie Considers Himself a Scandal Role Model

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When the Bridgegate scandal came to light in December 2013, Chris Christie tried to brush it off with a joke. A few months later, when documents revealed that top Christie aides orchestrated the “traffic problems in Fort Lee,” he held a lengthy press conference and declared he was taking responsibility — while simultaneously making it clear that he was lied to, “betrayed,” “blindsided,” and “stunned by the abject stupidity” of his staff. Next the New Jersey governor hid from the press for a few months as several friends and close associates were thrown under the bus, forced to resign, and pursued by federal investigators.

Just last week, several top United Airlines executives stepped down due to an indirectly related federal-corruption probe, so you might think Christie’s appearance on this Sunday’s Meet the Press would be pretty awkward — if you foolishly believe things you read in major news outlets. When Chuck Todd pressed Christie about whether he’s at fault for appointing David Samson, the former Port Authority chairman currently under investigation, the governor snapped, “First of all, you have absolutely no idea. You have no idea as you sit here today that he did anything wrong, nor does anybody else. And so let’s stop just reading the newspapers, okay? […] Let’s stop reading the newspapers and just blathering back what is that, okay?”

Christie went on to explain that crises such as being betrayed by all your top appointees are inevitable — the real test of leadership is how you respond. “When we had a crisis, the next day I went out and took questions for an hour and 50 minutes, no holds barred,” he said. “Let’s wait to see if Mrs. Clinton ever does one-fifth of that.” Christie had some Olivia Pope–esque advice for the president too. “I wish Barack Obama might have reacted that way to the IRS scandal,” he said, adding that he should publicly declare that Clinton’s Emailgate scandal is a “stain on my administration,” and demand that she be more transparent. “He hasn’t done that, and its a failure of leadership,” the governor explained.

So if the unproven allegations against Clinton are a “stain” on Obama’s presidency, is the same true of the George Washington Bridge scandal and Christie’s administration? “No. It is not,” he said. “Nothing has been proven yet.”