[ENT] Chris Christie says he was ‘wrong’ not to wear a mask at White House super-spreader event

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who contracted COVID-19, admitted he was ‘wrong’ for not wearing a face mask at the White House event for Amy Coney Barrett and during debate prep sessions with President Trump. 

Earlier this month, Christie revealed that he was one of more than a dozen people, including several members of Trump’s inner circle, who tested positive for the virus as an outbreak sparked in the White House just one month before the November election. 

Christie has long championed the opinions of Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, but broke ranks on Thursday in an interview with The New York Times.   

He told the publication that he falsely believed that the Rose Garden event on September 26 was in a ‘safe zone.’ 

Chris Christie (center) hugs Maureen Ferguson (left), senior fellow at the Catholic Association, after President Donald J. Trump spoke with Judge Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House

‘I believed when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day,’ Christie said in a statement.

‘I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team. 

He then urged Americans to take the virus seriously as officials continue to record cases and deaths at concerning levels. Eight million Americans have been infected and 217,000 have died.

‘I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.’ 

Chris Christie (center) is pictured at the Rose Garden event at the White House last month when he flouted CDC guidelines and did not wear a proper face mask

Chris Christie (center) is pictured at the Rose Garden event at the White House last month when he flouted CDC guidelines and did not wear a proper face mask 

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Christie was among a crowd of mask-flouting Trump administration constituents who gathered in the Rose Garden to honor Judge Amy Coney Barrett. 

White House officials have investigated the event as a COVID ‘super-spreader’ that may have contributed to several attendees positive diagnoses.

After the event, Trump administration confidants like Kellyanne Conway, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Hope Hicks announced their infections. 

Melania Trump, who also tested positive, revealed that the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, contracted the virus as well. 

THE TOLL OF COVID FROM SCOTUS NOMINEE EVENT

 1. President Donald Trump, 74; 2. First Lady Melania Trump, 50; 3. Fr. John Jenkins, 66. President of the University of Notre Dame; 4. Mike Lee, 49. Republican Utah Senator; 5. Thom Tillis, 60. Republican North Carolina Senator;  6. Kellyanne Conway, 53, Former White House Counselor to the President; 7.  Chris Christie, 58. Former New Jersey Governor; 8.  Kayleigh McEnany, 32. White House Press Secretary;  9. Chad Gilmartin. Assistant Press Secretary, 22.  10. Karoline Leavitt, 23. Assistant Press Secretary. 11. Pastor Greg Laurie, 67. Harvest Crusades televangelist.

* Bill Barr, 70: self-isolating out of caution. 

AT EVENT AND STOOD AT BACK OF ROSE GARDEN

12. Hope Hicks, 31. Counselor to the President; 13. Bill Stepien, 42. Trump Campaign Manager; 14. Nicholas Luna, 29. Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’; 15. Unnamed White House reporter

And previous reports noted that Christie was part of the President’s debate preparation team ahead of the disastrous against Joe Biden last month.

He later confessed on Good Morning America that the preparation team congregated around Trump without any of them wearing face masks.

‘No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time,’ he said on October 2. ‘And the group was about five or six people, in total.

Trump revealed that day he contracted the virus, and Christie announced his infection the next day.

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Trump was transported via Marine One to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and spent three days receiving medical treatment. 

Throughout his stay, he and doctors presented an optimistic prognosis that was derailed when Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, told reporters that his ‘vitals were concerning.’

Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night

Donald Trump, whose infection with COVID-19 was confirmed at 1am on Friday, removed his face mask on Monday night 

Trump has since returned to the White House, where he immediately removed his face mask to reportedly film a promotional video on the balcony of the South Portico.

The Commander-in-Chief has attempted to level his COVID-19 recovery as justification for previously flouting CDC guidelines and minimizing the pandemic. He called catching the virus a ‘blessing from God.’

Twitter flagged two of Trump’s Twitter posts in the last seven days.

One post was labeled ‘misleading’ for suggesting Trump was completely immune from the virus now, while the other spread misinformation by claiming the flu was more lethal that COVID-19

While speaking with the Times, Christie added that COVID-19 was ‘something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly.’

Christie admitted himself to Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey and was placed in the intensive care unit for seven days. He was released on October 10 and has been cleared to have contact with others.

Pictured: Chris Christie, with Rudy Giuliani (right) at a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House

Pictured: President Donald Trump at a campaign event in Greenville, North Carolina, on Thursday

Christie (left) has urged Americans to take COVID-19 more seriously after his hospitalization, while Trump (right) has continued downplaying the virus 

Christie told the publication that he was treated with a combination of blood thinners, the drug remdesivir and an experimental cocktail created by Eli Lilly, which recently halted drug trials over safety concerns.

He added that he’s still fatigued, but his symptoms are not nearly as severe or debilitating as they were when he was first infected. 

Christie did not directly blame Trump for catching COVID-19, but admitted he mistakenly believed he was safe because everyone around the president was required to undergo daily tests.

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‘I don’t know who infected me and I don’t know how frequently he was tested,’ Christie told the Times, referring to Trump. 

Regarding the September 26 event, Christie echoed that sentiment.

Christie (pictured): 'I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be'

Christie (pictured): ‘I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be’

‘I was put in the third row, and what they told us was that everybody in the first three rows had been tested that day and tested negative,’ he told the Times. ‘I shouldn’t have relied on that.’

While New Jersey health officials have contacted Christie for regarding contact-tracing, he said the White House has not. 

In his statement, Christie criticized the Trump administration for not treating Americans like ‘adults.’ 

‘I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be,’ he said in the statement.

‘I have also concluded that like much else in 2020, that the virus is governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people. Both are wrong.’

So far, more than two dozen Trump administration officials, White House staff, senators, reporters, the marine general and their families have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The outbreak appeared to mainly affect Trump’s circle, but the virus has since spread to the Biden-Harris campaign.

The two individuals tested positive on Wednesday. They were a non-staff flight crew member and Liz Allen, Harris’ communications director, said Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillion in a statement.

‘Neither of these people have had contact with Vice President Biden, Senator Harris or any other staffers since testing positive or in the 48 hours prior to their positive test results,’ Dillon said.

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Chris Christie’s Full Statement

I am happy and fortunate to inform you that I have recovered from COVID-19. Before this good news, however, I spent 7 days in the Intensive Care Unit of Morristown. Medical Center to get treatment and insure this good result for me and my family. 

I want to thank the doctors and nurses for their skillful and compassionate care. I want to thank the manufacturers of Remdesivir and the Eli Lilly monoclonal anti-body cocktail for giving me access to their extraordinary treatments. I am confident that all of those factors contributed to my good health today.

When you have seven days in isolation in an ICU though, you have time to do a lot of thinking. I did and have come to the following conclusions:

  • I believed that when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that and I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong. I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team. I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
  • Having had this virus, I can also assure those who have not had it of a few things. It is something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly. No one should be happy to get the virus and no one should be cavalier about being infected or infecting others.
  • But as a former public official, I believe we have not treated Americans as adults, who understand truth, sacrifice and responsibility that I know them to be. I have also concluded that like much else in 2020, that the virus is governed by our two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the American people. Both are wrong. This is not an either/or proposition. The public health consequences of ignoring the virus and the responsible safeguards that we need to take will be additional illness and death caused by COVID-19. The public policy consequences of continuing to shut down or re-shut down our country will be further economic devastation to families, even more loss of education by our students and the continuing loss of life through the drug abuse, suicide and depression caused by taking away people’s ability to support their families. There is another way.
  • Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day. At the same time, we should be reopening in every corner of this nation under these guidelines. Reopen all those places which have taken the brunt of these shutdowns and allow our country to get back to a life where citizens can support their families using common sense. Even during a contentious election year, we must trust the American people with the truth. I believe that these two steps can bring our country together while our pharmaceutical companies invent the therapeutics and vaccines which will rid us of this virus.
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While we may seem very divided today, I do believe we can use this public health tragedy to bring us together. It is never too late to start. It will take leadership that both challenges and trusts the American people. After all, we are America, the world’s greatest hope.

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