Oct 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Christie says he was in ICU, admits he was "wrong not to wear mask" at White House

Chris Christie

Christie arrives before Trump speaks to a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on Sept. 27. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told the New York Times on Thursday that he spent several days in the intensive care unit after checking into the hospital with COVID-19, and that he was "wrong not to wear a mask" at the White House.

Driving the news: Christie, 58, appears to have contracted COVID-19 in the White House coronavirus outbreak, which saw positive tests from President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and more than a dozen others.

  • Christie attended a White House briefing on Sept. 27, and held several debate prep sessions with the president and his team prior to the Sept. 29 presidential debate.
  • He also attended the White House's Rose Garden celebration for the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. A number of other attendees tested positive after the event.
  • Christie, who faced a higher risk of complications from COVID-19 due to his weight and history of asthma, checked himself into the hospital on Oct. 3 at the insistence of his doctor. He was released on Saturday.

What he's saying: “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 the statement to the Times.

  • “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 added.
  • “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,” he said.

According to the Times, Christie was treated with a combination of blood thinners, remdesivir and an experimental antibody cocktail produced by Eli Lilly. (The clinical trial of Eli Lilly's treatment was recently paused due to a "potential safety concern," per the Times.)

  • Christie did not directly blame Trump, saying he didn't know who infected him, but that he should have not relied on information provided by White House staff.
  • “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 said of the Barrett Supreme Court nomination event. “I shouldn’t have relied on that,” he told the Times.
  • Christie also said that while he was contacted by health officials in New Jersey for contact tracing, he did not hear from anyone at the White House.

The bottom line: Christie told the Times that the coronavirus is “something to take very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly.”

  • Responses to the virus are “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," he added.

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