Chris Christie writes op-ed on masks: “Wear it or you may regret it—as I did”

Chris Christie, shown in this file photo, is having second thoughts on masks.
Chris Christie, shown in this file photo, is having second thoughts on masks.(Source: CNN/file)
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 8:19 AM EDT
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(CBS News) - Chris Christie said in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he should have worn a mask at the White House, and he urged others to not make the same mistake. “Wear it or you may regret it—as I did,” the former New Jersey governor wrote.

Christie, who was hospitalized due to COVID-19, was at the Rose Garden event when President Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee and also helped Mr. Trump prepare for the first presidential debate. Christie did not wear a mask for either event.

“I mistook the bubble of security around the president for a viral safe zone. I was wrong,” he wrote. “There is no safe zone from this virus.”

Christie lamented that wearing a mask has become a partisan issue. “It’s not a partisan or cultural symbol, not a sign of weakness or virtue. It’s simply a good method—not a perfect one, but a proven one—to contain a cough or prevent the virus from getting in your mouth or nose. Wear it or you may regret it—as I did.”

But Christie noted that, despite his illness, he is still in favor of what he called “rapid reopening” of the country. He said he believes the key to safely reopening the country is for Americans to be given “proper and consistent information” and laid the blame for a lack thereof on mixed messages sent by “partisan media and public officials.”

Christie does not cite any specific public officials or media institutions in his op-ed. The only person he directly criticizes is himself for not wearing a mask at the two events, which he said was a “serious failure for me, as a public figure.”

Christie was one of over two dozen people in Mr. Trump’s orbit who tested positive for COVID-19 following the event at the Rose Garden. The president himself also tested positive and spent several days at Walter Reed Medical Center to receive treatment. Christie spent six days in the ICU.

“Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day,” he said in a statement several days after leaving the hospital.

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