Chris Christie to skip dinner with President Obama
By: Elizabeth Titus
February 21, 2014 02:39 PM EST
Chris Christie won’t dine at the White House on his swing through Washington this weekend.
The New Jersey governor is set to leave town Sunday morning, his office confirmed, before a Sunday night White House dinner traditionally attended by governors of both parties during the annual National Governors Association meeting.
Christie sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at last year’s dinner, and drew heat from some Republicans for famously embracing President Barack Obama just days before the presidential election in 2012 as the men surveyed Superstorm Sandy damage in New Jersey.
The Republican’s schedule is under particular scrutiny this year not just because he is a likely presidential contender in 2016 but because of the traffic scandal dogging him back home.
Christie has answered some media questions about the scandal and engaged with constituents, including at a town hall-style event on Thursday, but other questions about it remain unanswered while state and federal investigations continue. Christie has denied any personal involvement in the scandal.
Describing Christie’s weekend schedule, spokesman Colin Reed said Christie would spend the rest of Sunday celebrating his daughter’s 18th birthday and getting ready for a budget speech on Tuesday.
The spokesman said Christie would participate in the opening session of the NGA on Saturday, which is open to the press, and attend a governors-only lunch, as well as events for the Republican Governors Association, which Christie leads.
CNN reported on Christie’s schedule earlier Friday.