New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will face off with reporters Thursday at 11 a.m. to address charges that his administration purposefully blocked lanes of traffic around the George Washington Bridge to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor who declined to endorse him for re-election.
One of the leading potential Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential race, Christie has denied personal knowledge of the affair following reports of emails between some of his top staffers plotting the scenario.
"I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge," he said in a prepared statement released Wednesday afternoon.
"One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions."
Christie has a reputation for taking reporters to task for asking what he considers silly or frivolous questions, but it's likely he will take a more contrite stance Thursday as he tries to reframe the transition his reputation is making from a lovable, straight-talking loudmouth to that of a thin-skinned, vindictive "Governor Soprano"-type Jersey pol.
Christie won his re-election in a landslide despite the fact that Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who first claimed the closures were politically motivated, failed to endorse him.