October 22, 2020

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Christie: I was ‘wrong’ not to wear mask at White House, with Trump

  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he was “wrong” not to wear a mask to the White House Rose Garden event for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, after which he and several other attendees and White House officials tested positive for COVID-19.
  • In an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, Christie said he hoped his experience with COVID-19 showed others “that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.”
  • Christie was hospitalized for several days earlier this month, as he was at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms given his weight and asthma.
  • “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 told The Times.
  • “I was wrong,” he continued. “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.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was recently hospitalized after contracting COVID-19, told The New York Times on Thursday that he was “wrong” for not wearing a mask at the White House and with the president.

Christie attended the White House Rose Garden event for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, on September 26. More than a dozen attendees, including Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump advisor, and Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, tested positive for COVID-19 in the weeks after the event.

The former New Jersey governor also met with Trump, who announced on October 2 that he’d tested positive for COVID-19, to help him prepare for the first presidential debate on September 29.

“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 told The Times in a statement. “I was wrong.”

He continued: “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.”

Christie said that he was sitting in the third row of the packed White House event and that he was told that “everybody in the first three rows had been tested that day and tested negative.”

“I shouldn’t have relied on that,” he said, adding that he was later contacted by local health officials in New Jersey for contact tracing, but not by the White House.

Christie spent several days in the intensive-care unit at Morristown Medical Center, as he was at a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms given his weight and asthma. He told The Times that he was released on October 10 and had been cleared to stop quarantining.

Christie said he hoped his experience with the coronavirus served as an example to others “that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.”

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