TRENTON, N.J. – Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie was stopped from cutting past a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday, with Christie eventually getting in line with other passengers.
Christie – still accompanied by a member of a State Police protection detail, even though his tenure as governor ended Tuesday – attempted to enter through a VIP access area the former governor had used for eight years, located near the exit of the restricted area of Terminal B.
A law enforcement official familiar with the encounter told the Associated Press that a Port Authority airport police officer and a Transportation Security Administration officer directed them to the regular screening line for all passengers. The incident was first reported by CBS New York.
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The Port Authority also operates the George Washington Bridge, where the Bridgegate political payback scheme was orchestrated by Christie associates in 2013. The Republican has maintained he had no knowledge of the episode and he wasn’t charged. A conspiracy trial in federal court resulted in three convictions in 2016.
In July, Christie spoke about not feeling the need to apologize for vacationing on a beach closed to the public during the state government shutdown.
Christie still has access to taxpayer-funded security because New Jersey ex-governors are allowed one state trooper to accompany them for six months after they leave office. Christie handed power over to Democrat Phil Murphy at noon Tuesday.
Christie on Twitter later Thursday disputed accounts of what happened at the airport.
“Absolutely false story about my travel today,” he tweeted. “(New Jersey State Police) security detail & I were led to one entrance in the airport by (Port Authority Police Department) officer. TSA informed (Port Authority Police Department) and (New Jersey State Police) that this was the wrong way to enter and directed us to another entrance where I was screened & admitted to the airport.”
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“Neither option was the way I entered airport as Governor (wrong in the story) and (Port Authority Police Department) officer never denied me entry at either place (also wrong in story),” he said. “He was a gentleman assisting my security detail. When he got the right info he took me to the right place. Pure fiction.”
But a Port Authority spokesperson responded, telling CBS New York that “Christie showed up at Newark Airport today with NJ State PD detail. They tried to go into the special access area where they have been going for years. A (Port Authority) cop told him he was no longer allowed to use that access and they escorted him to the regular area.”
Source: New York Daily News
Featured Image: Getty Images
Inset Image: AP Photo/File