By Alexandra Jaffe - 01/09/14 12:00 PM EST
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) has fired a top staffer involved in a growing controversy over a bridge closing, apologizing Thursday morning for the conduct of his staff.
Christie said he had fired his deputy chief of staff Bridget Ann Kelly for her role in instigating closures on the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retribution for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., refusing to endorse Christie’s reelection bid.
The governor also said he was taking action against his former campaign manager and top political adviser, Bill Stepien, for his involvement in an email chain unearthed in the investigation. Christie had nominated Stepien as head of the New Jersey Republican Party but said he’s withdrawing that nod and also asking Stepien to stop his consulting role with the Republican Governors Association, which Christie chairs.
“All of the people who were affected by this conduct deserve this apology, and that's why I'm giving it to them. I need to apologize to them for my failure as the governor of this state to understand the true nature of this problem sooner than I did. But I believe I now have an understanding now of the true nature of this problem,” said Christie.