"What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable," he said in a prepared statement. "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."
"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.”
Messages released Wednesday show top officials close to Christie were involved with the Fort Lee lane closures that some have suggested were payback for the Fort Lee mayor not endorsing Christie's reelection bid.
As news spread Wednesday morning about the emails, Christie canceled an appearance at the Stafford Township Volunteer Fire Co. where he was supposed to announce a Superstorm Sandy "housing recovery milestone," according to a statement issued by his office.
The event was supposed to get underway at 11 a.m. at the firehouse. An email from the governor's press office sent at about 10:30 a.m. said only that the event would be "postponed to a later date," but offered no reason for the postponement.
The emails between high-level gubernatorial aides and Port Authority officials contradict statements by Christie, who said his staff and campaign had nothing to do with the closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge that caused a week worth of traffic jams for North Jersey residents.
Emails obtained by The New York Times and The Record show Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to the governor, told a Port Authority official close to Christie that it was “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” about two weeks before the lanes were closed.
“Got it,” replied the Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, who resigned last month as national media and incensed local politicians turned up the heat on the scandal.