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Republican Gov. Chris Christie said on Wednesday it’s important not to jump to conclusions as federal investigators look into the possibility one of his former appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey traded favors with airline executives.
Christie, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, appeared on the “Ask the Governor” show on 101.5 FM and called former Port Authority head David Samson a friend but added that he has always held his appointees and workers to high standards and fired them when they fell short.
The comments came after news that United Airlines executives abruptly resigned this week as federal investigators look into the possibility favors between the company and Samson were traded. No one has been charged in the case. Samson headed Christie’s gubernatorial transition team. He resigned in 2014 after the Port Authority was implicated in the George Washington Bridge lane closures scandal.
“We gotta be really careful not to jump to conclusions on news reports,” Christie said. “But when there have been times when people haven’t met those standards I take action and I fire them.”
He continued: “I have to be held accountable for what happens on my watch. I’m happy to be held accountable for what happens on my watch.”
United resumed direct flights to the South Carolina airport near Samson’s vacation home when he was in charge of the agency. About that time United was pressing for concessions from the agency, including a new hangar at the Newark airport.
The hour-long interview touched on Christie’s White House campaign, the state economy and presidential candidate Donald Trump.