Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) expressed his support for fellow Republican Chris Christie on Tuesday, saying he still has confidence in the New Jersey governor's ability to chair the Republican Governors Association even as Christie remains caught up in the "Bridgegate" scandal.
“[Christie] was completely transparent and gave the public a chance to hear what he understood and what he knew, took action on it -- decisive action in terms of removing the people who had not been forthright with him,” Walker said at a press conference at the White House, according to HTR News. “And assuming everything stays as he’s announced, I don’t see that being a problem for him.”
Waker was visiting Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama as a member of the NGA's executive board. The governors are discussing their priorities with the president ahead of his State of the Union Address later this month.
"The bottom line is he stepped up," Walker said of Christie. "I think whether it's Chris or any other governor, all of us who are governors, we certainly appreciate people who hold folks accountable in their administration."
Christie administration's has come under fire for appearing to have called for lane closures that caused massive traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge last year as part of a political payback scheme. His administration initially claimed the lanes were shut down for a traffic study. But emails and text messages from top aides indicate that the closures may have been intended to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Christie's gubernatorial reelection bid.
Christie has publicly apologized and said he didn't know that the snarls on the bridge were caused by anything other than a traffic study. He addressed the controversy during his State of the State speech Tuesday.
"The last week has certainly tested this administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we are entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better. Much better," Christie said. "I'm the governor and I'm ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch -- both good and bad."
Both Christie and Walker are considered top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. Walker said in a television interview in November that he thinks a Republican presidential candidate must "be an outsider," or at least removed from the politics of Washington.
"I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor -- people who have done successful things in their states, who have taken on big reforms, who are ready to move America forward," he said at the time.