Today on “This Week,” former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but warned that the Garden State governor is putting his political future in jeopardy should evidence surface that he had any knowledge of his aides’ alleged actions in the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Christie has become embroiled in an escalating and damaging political scandal over the closing of traffic lanes from Fort Lee, N.J. to the George Washington Bridge, which resulted in major backups for days last September. Christie has denied any knowledge of his aides’ alleged actions and fired a senior aide for her involvement in the affair.
“He says he didn’t know. I think it’s pretty darn credible. He wouldn’t make this blanket denial unless it’s not true,” Giuliani told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Sunday. ”
“If, for some reason, it’s not true, the man has put his political career completely at risk if it turns out there is some evidence that he knew about it,” Giuliani added. “He’s taken the complete risk that his political career is over. I don’t think he’d do that if there’s any suggestion he knew about this.”
This week — during a press conference that lasted close to two hours — Christie apologized for the actions of his aides and took responsibility for the events, adding that he was misled about the circumstances involving the lane closures. He also fired Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to the governor who sent a now infamous email to David Wildstein of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”.
During the interview, the former mayor compared Christie being unaware of the major traffic jam in New Jersey during the height of his re-election to the Obama administration being caught off guard by the IRS scandal as well as the attack in Benghazi, Libya that occurred two months before the 2012 presidential election.
“And the reality is, things go wrong in an administration. And frankly, you know, he was in campaign-mode at the time, during campaign-mode you miss a lot of things. You’re not paying as much attention. We see that with Benghazi,” Giuliani said.
“After the fact, it seems like how didn’t they know? But the reality is you miss a lot of things when you’re running a government that’s as complicated as New Jersey, New York or the United States,” Giuliani added. “This has happened to many presidents, many governors, many mayors. It’s happened to the present president at three or four times where he said I didn’t know. And then the press says, gosh, how could he not have known?”
Judy Smith, the crisis management expert who inspired the character of Olivia Pope on the ABC show “Scandal,” also appeared on “This Week,” and gave Christie high marks for the way he handled the biggest political crisis during his time as governor.
“I think he did a good first step. I think the press conference, he did a great job,” Smith said on “This Week.” “He set the message narrative at the top. He apologized. He took responsibility. He made some swift actions. And I like the fact he was able to make sure that he apologized to the mayor and he did all of those things in one day.”