After Bridgegate, after Samson: Is Christie’s judgment in question?
The governor answered: "I don't think so."
Christie and Scott were talking about the latest resurgence of a Bridgegate-adjacent scandal. While David Samson was chairman at the Port Authority — a position to which Christie appointed his longtime friend — United airlines reinstated a money-losing direct flight between Newark and South Carolina, where Samson has a summer home. Now, United has fired its CEO, acknowledging it's because of investigations into the matter.
Samson already resigned from the Port Authority in the fallout from Bridgegate — the alleged politically motivated closures of lanes on the George Washington Bridge tied to other members of Christie's inner circle. Former Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Baroni and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly have been indicted, and ex-Port Authority executive David Wildstein's admitted guilt while pointing a finger at the others.
"I think what it says is you deal with human beings," Christie told Scott Wednesday.
The governor argued a leader can't always know what the people he or she trusts may do. "I don't think anyone who knew Bill Baroni thought of him as anything other than a smart, ethical, good public servant." And he stressed Samson's a friend — and that suggestions of his wrongdoing
"I think the way you judge a leader is not that they make every decision absolutely right. If anyone's held to a 100 percent standard, everyone will fail. The standard you need to hold to is when mistakes are made, how do you react. Do you cover them up? Do you make excuses for them? Or do you act. And when we found out about the problems that happened there, we acted immediately and terminated people that we thought their conduct was in question, and then moved on."
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