Enraged Christie Attacks Boehner
In this photo provided by the Office of the Governor of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie speaks at a news conference at New Jersey's State House on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in Trenton, N.J. Christie blasted fellow Republican John Boehner for the House Speaker's decision Tuesday to delay a vote on Superstorm Sandy relief and says the inaction is "inexcusable." Republican Rep. Peter King of New York on Wednesday said Boehner has promised votes to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy by Jan. 15. (AP Photo/New Jersey Governor's Office, Tim Larsen)
Washington — Enraged over Congress’ failure to approve disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey unloaded yesterday on House Speaker John A. Boehner and Republican lawmakers in Washington for putting “palace intrigue” ahead of their official responsibilities.
Washington politicians “will say whatever they have to say to get through the day,” said Christie. He added that, as a governor, he had “actual responsibilities” — “unlike people in Congress.”
Christie, a potential 2016 Republican presidential contender, reserved his most blistering words for the Republican House speaker. He described Boehner, variously, as selfish, duplicitous and gutless for reversing course at the last minute on Tuesday night and refusing to allow a vote on the $60 billion aid package before the current Congress adjourned.
As a result of what Christie called “the speaker’s irresponsible action,” he said there will be further delay in federal disaster aid to New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and other areas hit by the October storm. He pointed out that it had been 66 days since the storm hit and that areas struck by other hurricanes in recent years had received relief packages in far less time.
However, as outrage continued to pour in from elected officials in the affected area, Boehner agreed to hold a vote on Sandy aid by Jan. 15. But that came after Christie dished out his cold outrage on members of his own party.
“Shame on you. Shame on Congress,” Christie told a news conference in Trenton, the state capital. “It’s absolutely disgraceful, and I have to tell you, this used to be something that was not political. Disaster relief was something you didn’t play games with.” But “in this current atmosphere, (it’s) a potential piece of bait for the political game. It is why the American people hate Congress.”
At another point, he said of Republicans in Congress: “We’ve got people down there who use the citizens of this country like pawns on a chessboard.”
“My party was responsible for this,” said Christie. He said that “one set of Republicans was trying to prove something to another set,” and that Boehner was trying to “prove something. I hope he accomplished it.”
Christie, whose disaster relief-themed efforts to reach across partisan lines to President Obama in the days leading up to the election angered many Republicans, said he did not think that was a factor in Boehner’s decision.
But Christie, who delivered the keynote address at last summer’s Republican National Convention and has helped raise money in recent years for fellow Republicans, did not rule out retaliating against his enemies in Washington.
“We’ll see. Primaries are an ugly thing,” he said.
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