Posted October 29, 2018 05:53:54 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision to refuse to testify before a congressional inquiry about the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, has raised questions over his loyalty to his political party and his role in the attacks.
A week after the inquiry opened, the former New Jersey governor made the unusual decision to remain in Washington, D.C. until after the hearing ended, the New York Times reported.
“The decision was based on the belief that it would not be in the best interest of the country to continue to have him in the United States for another six months,” a White House official told the newspaper.
But, according to the Times, the decision was not taken lightly.
“Christie did not have a personal interest in the outcome of the hearing, and his decision not to testify in the hearing is indicative of a lack of loyalty to the party that he once represented,” the source told the paper.
The Republican governor, who has said he would not answer questions, is not the only governor to refuse testimony from Congress this year.
Democratic President Joe Biden, who is also a senator, refused to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Former president Bill Clinton refused to testify from the House Judiciary Committee in April, despite receiving a subpoena from Democrats.
And, in June, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to make a statement after a report that he would refuse to make an appearance on the committee.
Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and George H.W. Bush have all refused to appear before Congress since the Benghazi attacks in 2012, according the Times.
Christie, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2002, is one of two sitting governors to not answer the congressional inquiry.
Christie was one of five Republicans who voted against the Benghazi resolution in February, and three of them voted against it again in March, according CNN.
“My decision is to remain silent until after this committee has concluded its investigation and before I decide to make further statements,” Christie said in a statement to the Senate.
“As you all know, I did not speak to the House or Senate committee in order to prevent the release of my written statement in support of the bipartisan resolution,” he added.
Christie has said the committee’s inquiry is “incomplete” and that he is “unable to comment further on the issue until the full committee completes its work.”
In a statement, Christie called the committee a “bunch of hypocrites who should have never been allowed to hold hearings in the first place.”
The Republican Party of New Jersey is urging the governor to testify.
“In order to protect the integrity of the process, we urge Governor Christie to speak before the committee,” spokesman Eric Walker said in an email to ABC News.
“If Governor Christie is unable to participate in this important process, it should be up to the New Jersey Senate to determine whether or not to hold a hearing.”
Christie’s attorney told ABC News that Christie’s statement would “seriously harm” the inquiry and the state’s reputation, and would harm his ability to serve in Congress.
“Mr. Christie believes that his political loyalty should be absolute, and he believes that any suggestion otherwise is completely inappropriate,” Walker said.
“He hopes that the committee will continue to examine the investigation thoroughly and to find any evidence that Mr. Christie’s political motivations may have influenced the decision not be presented at the committee.”