Chris Christie says it was 'wrong' not to wear a mask to White House events

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was hospitalized with the coronavirus earlier this month, and on Thursday, he encouraged Americans to take the virus "very seriously. The ramifications are wildly random and potentially deadly."

Christie was one of several people who attended a Rose Garden ceremony in late September honoring President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who later tested positive for coronavirus — the list includes Trump, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Christie also visited the White House to help Trump prepare for his debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and he told The New York Times he mistakenly believed he was entering "a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team."

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After testing positive, Christie's doctor urged him to check into the hospital, and he spent several days in the intensive care unit before being released on Oct. 10. Christie said he was treated with blood thinners, the Ebola drug remdesivir, and an experimental antibody cocktail. While he is tired, Christie said he's not nearly as fatigued as when he was first sick.

Christie told the Times the White House said that everyone sitting around him at the Rose Garden event had been tested, and he "shouldn't have relied on that." He is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing, but also thinks Americans need to find a middle ground, telling the Times responses to the virus follow "two dominant political and media extremes: those who believe there is nothing to this virus and those alarmists who would continue to close down our country and not trust the common sense of the Americana people. Both are wrong."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.