A packed day for Gov. Chris Christie in the capitol. First finalizing a yearslong consolidation of state communications under one secure system, then heralding the economic turnaround in Atlantic City whose finances are under state control. Correspondent David Cruz is standing by in Trenton.
Cruz: Hi Mary Alice, good evening everyone. As you said a very active day for the governor. It started at the Office of Information Technology where he signed an executive order that puts all the IT operations, that is hardware and software, under the Department of Information Technology. Here he is this morning explaining the plan to the staff there:
Christie: This executive order puts every cabinet member on notice. In our last seven months in office we are going to inextricably begin the conversion to a centralized IT function at OIT and having all of that come out of the departments. They don’t know how to do it, they certainly don’t know how to do it as well as you do and I want you to handling this problem for the people of this state and this opportunity for the people of the state going forward.
Cruz: So 180 days to implement the plan, he said. You’ll see cost savings, increased efficiency and increased security for the next governor, he said. Then it was on to an afternoon presser which was held here at the new Office of the Governor, 225 W. State Street, which is just a few doors down from the State House. It was ostensibly about progress in Atlantic City but we could find no discernible news, so we asked the governor to give us a headline and this is what he had to say:
Christie: I’m not announcing anything. What we’re talking about is that these folks in Atlantic City have come here to say that they are ready now to make further investments in Atlantic City. So if you want a headline, that’s the headline. MGM Resorts and Caesars are now saying that they’re ready to make significant new investments in Atlantic City and they’re going to have announcements about that in the weeks ahead.
Cruz: So like any Christie press conference it veered off a little from the stated purpose, but I’ll give you a quick outline of some of the things he talked about. He talked about Kathy Griffin, he called her disgusting and the picture that she took with a beheaded Donald Trump also disgusting. On school funding he said something’s going to happen by June 8 whether the Democrats are with him or not. On Phil Murphy accepting public funds in the general election he laughed. He called Phil Murphy a fraud. As far as the ongoing Amtrak issues the governor said he’s going to wait and see how Amtrak does and that he called them fundamentally dishonest. As far as the president pulling out of the Paris Climate Treaty he said that he’s OK with it. So then we asked him about Jared Kushner, who has been announced this week as a person of interest with an FBI investigation into Russian interference in politics here in the U.S. You know, the governor and Jared Kushner have had an iffy relationship. We asked him to give, we were looking for a personal endorsement of Jared Kushner and this is what we got:
Christie: Listen, I’m not going to give a warranty to anybody on anything other than myself. What I’m telling you though is that I don’t have any knowledge about any activities that Jared was involved in, in what you talked about in terms of meetings with members of the Russian government. And secondly, as I’ve said before, Jared and I have a very good professional relationship.
Cruz: So as far as the forthcoming election, the governor said he’s going to lay low but promised that he would have some town halls to “wrap things up” after the election.