He was interrupted by applause from people in the crowd who had heard Trump’s name but weren’t listening to what Christie was saying.
“…after he named me chairman of his transition, after he named me chairman of his commission on opioids and drug addiction, after – and this one will keep you up at night, everything the world – after playing Hillary Clinton in the debate prep” – that as has always been laughed at – “and after playing Joe Biden in the debate prep in 2020, why am I running for president of the states -United ? I’m running because he let us down. He let us down because he doesn’t want to take responsibility for the mistakes that were made” – whispers echoed through the air – “and all the faults he has, and all the things that he did. And that’s not leadership, everyone! This is a failure of leadership!
Now they got it.
“You can boo all you want!” bellowed Christie. “But here’s the thing: our faith teaches us that people must take responsibility for what they do!
Christie, visibly enthusiastic, finished in less than 10 minutes and left the hotel. A scrum of reporters surrounded him through an alley outside. “I knew I was in danger of being booed. But you know what? I guarantee you one thing. I made every person in this room think today. And it’s part of your job as a leader not to tell them what they want to hear – to tell them what they need to hear, ”he said before hurrying into a car to go to CNN. “You need to hear the truth. You cannot deny the truth.
I couldn’t help but think: it’s no exaggeration to say that Chris Christie launched his own political career with a lie. He got his first elected job thanks in part to false advertisements. In 1994, as a pro-choice, anti-gun lawyer in his 30s, he won a race to become the freeholder of Morris County – and the people he beat sued him for libel. In 1996, he settled down, agreeing to pay Cecilia “Cissy” Laureys and Edward Tamm a sum that remains secret. But the money was not the most interesting element of the terms. He also had to say he was sorry. And he had to do it in public. Christie’s ‘APOLOGY AND RETRACTION LETTER’ aired in Morristown Daily recording on November 17, 1996.
“I am writing to offer my sincere apologies to you both and your families regarding two political advertisements which ran on my behalf during the Freeholders’ primary election campaign in May and June 1994. The first advertisement, printed, stated that you two’ are currently being investigated by the Morris County District Attorney. of an investigation by the Morris County District Attorney,” he wrote. “These statements were not accurate. None of you have been investigated by the Morris County prosecutor at any time,” he said. “There was no criminal or ethical element to the prosecutor’s action,” he said. “Those ads weren’t appropriate,” he said. “I hope you will accept this sincere apology in the spirit in which it is made.”
Laureys accepted it. Then she used it – like a club in a rematch the following spring. A four-page direct mailer devoted to the issue was a central part of his campaign. “I apologized,” Christie told Newark Star Ledger. “If she can’t let go, there’s not much I can do.” There were seven candidates on the ballot. Christie finished last – last or second to last in all but seven of the county’s 39 towns – a loss he and others thought could mark a dead manger of his rise. “Once Rising Star Finds Loss Painful,” Read One Star Ledger big title. It was painful but not permanent. It took five years until he became a United States Attorney and seven more until he was elected governor. “Sometimes,” Laureys would later say, “you have to learn from your mistakes.”
Since then, he has rarely said sorry. He kind of did it in a marathon press conference following the Bridgegate revelations. “I came here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey,” he said, adding, “I am embarrassed and humbled by the conduct of some people on my team.” He was, however, unrepentant about “beach-gate”, or the list of voters he quarreled with or denounced at the vast town halls he held as governor, which made viral fodder on YouTube. “He’s not apologizing to anyone for anything,” David Wildstein, one of the members of his administration who has been held accountable for his role in Bridgegate, told me.
Laureys, for her part, forgave him. She said she thought he “did a great job” as U.S. Attorney in 2004. She supported him when he was running for governor in 2009. Laureys died in 2013.
But Ed Tamm is still alive.
“I didn’t really accept his apology,” Tamm told me. “He said sorry because he had to.”
I made a guess. “If Chris Christie came out today and said, ‘I’m so sorry for supporting Trump, I hope you accept my apology and please vote for me,’ it seems like you wouldn’t necessarily believe those apologies either.”
“Certainly not,” Tamm said. “He wants to get elected. He will do anything to get elected. And he would say anything, as he proved with my campaign, to get elected.