New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was confronted by protesters at a pair of events Tuesday.
In the morning, he traveled to Paterson to swear in Mayor Jose Torres. According to the Star-Ledger, while at the ceremony, Christie was booed by “about five dozen Paterson public school teachers” who were protesting their contracts and “jeered every time the governor’s name was mentioned.” The paper reported the teachers chanted “Christie’s gotta go!” and shouted “Liar!” as he left the stage following a brief appearance at the ceremony.
Christie also faced protests over his handling of contracts with teachers unions later in the day at a town hall in Caldwell. During the event, he was regularly interrupted by protesters. Though hecklers were promptly escorted out, new ones continued to emerge and shout at Christie throughout the event. Christie blamed “union heads” for the disturbances.
“They bring these folks in here to yell and scream and disturb these meetings. I gotta tell you the truth: After being governor for five years, having them yell and scream at me doesn’t bother me one damn bit,” he said at one point.
“I don’t mind them,” he insisted later.
Christie has had a fraught relationship with teachers unions after cutting funding for New Jersey’s school systems. He increased education funding slightly in his most recent budget, which he signed Monday.
However, a group of protesters apparently attempting to speak simultaneously — by reading lines from their phones — seemed to particularly irk the Republican governor, who accused them of getting “their lines fed to them.”
“Keep reading. Listen, that is an example why the education system in New Jersey is actually pretty good because he could read that whole thing without stumbling,” Christie later snarked at one of the hecklers as he was escorted out of the room.
The hecklers could not clearly be heard on a livestream of the event. Christie’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the protests from Business Insider.
Christie closed the town hall by thanking people who followed the rules and politely raised their hands.
“Thank you also for the people who were yelling and screaming,” he added, “because you make it exciting.”
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