White House: You Really Want to Compare Our Ethics with Chris Christie’s?
A day after Gov. Chris Christie's "prosecution" of Hillary Clinton during his speech to the Republican National Convention, the White House shot back.
During his daily press briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about a report by Reuters that Christie told GOP donors at a closed-door meeting Donald Trump's campaign was preparing to purge the federal government of employees hired by Barack Obama.
Christie said Obama could make some of the appointees civil servants, who are harder to fire than political appointees. But Christie reportedly said Trump could ask Congress to pass legislation to make it easier to fire federal employees.
"As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people," Christie said, according to audio of the meeting obtained by the news agency.
Earnest admitted that he doesn't know the specifics of federal appointees transitioning from one administration to another although it is a "longstanding precedent" that they can apply to continue in their positions.
Earnest, in his reply, said allowing appointees to apply for career civil service positions was "a longstanding precedent."
"I think it's fair to say that if you want to stack up the ethical record of President Obama and his political appointees against the ethical record compiled by Gov. Christie and his political appointees that we'd welcome that kind of comparison."
Hillary Clinton took her own shot at the governor after his speech on Tuesday night:
The Bridgegate and related ethics investigations have implicated several Christie appointees.
David Samson, a mentor to Christie who the appointed chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty earlier this month to using his position to pressure United Airlines to reinstate a flight from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, to make it easier to get to his vacation home.
Jamie Fox, a former lobbyist for United who Christie later named to a Cabinet post, was charged by federal prosecutors with soliciting the bribe. Fox's attorney says he will fight the charge.
Last year, charges were brought against Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, as well as against Christie-appointed Port Authority Officials Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, all accused of conspiring to shut down lanes of the George Washington Bridge as political payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse Christie involved in closing down lanes of the George Washington Bridge. Wildstein has pleaded guilty.
Christie himself has not been criminally accused in any of the matters. His taxpayer-funded legal bill has topped $10 million.
Christie has also caught flack in some media for attacking Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, from which she deleted some messages, while secretary of state. Christie reportedly deleted 12 text messages between himself and a top aide during a day of significant Bridgegate testimony in 2013.