Christie calls masks and social distancing a ‘minor inconvenience’
Former Gov. Chris Christie continues his mea culpa over not wearing a mask at the White House in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, which earned rare praise from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Christie, who spent nearly a week in intensive care at Morristown Medical Center, was among several members of the president's inner circle who tested positive for COVID-19 as did the president.
Christie was at the White House helping President Donald Trump prepare for the first presidential debate and was photographed not wearing any face covering. He later attended Trump's Rose Garden announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
After his release from the hospital, Christie wrote that he is lucky to be alive.
In his essay this week, he said the virus is easily prevented with the "minor inconveniences of wearing the mask, washing one's hands and staying away from crowds.
"Seldom has so little been asked for so much benefit," Chrstie wrote, calling upon the media, religious leaders, sports figures and public servants to deliver a consistent message.
“One of the worst aspects of America's divided politics is the polarization of something as practical as a mask. It's not a partisan or cultural symbol, not a sign of weakness or virtue. It's simply a good method—not a perfect one, but a proven one—to contain a cough or prevent the virus from getting in your mouth or nose. Wear it or you may regret it—as I did,” Christie wrote in his column titled "I should have worn a mask."
He called it a "serious failure" as a public figure to not wear a mask and he hoped others will learn from his experience.
Christie's column won praise from Murphy, who was interviewed Thursday morning with MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle.
"It takes somebody with a lot of character to say 'I screwed up' or 'I was wrong'...I do think there's an opportunity to say wait a minute, this isn't about politics, this is about facts," Murphy said.
Christie's recent statements have been inconsistent with what Trump and many of his campaign surrogates have been saying about masks. During the first presidential debate, for example, the president mocked Democratic challenger Joe Biden for often wearing face coverings in public.
Part of Christie's statement also was at odds with Murphy's stance.
Christie continues to support a "rapid reopening" of the economy, saying that the key to reopening the country is to offer "proper and consistent information." He blamed "partisan media and public officials" for sending mixed messages.
On Thursday morning, Murphy said that shutting down the state again is still on the table as cases tick upward and the flu season gets into full swing.
"I hope with all my heart that we don't shut down again," Murphy said. "It has to be on the table as an option. We're going to do everything we can to not do that."