Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is under increasing fire for his handling of a weekend winter storm’s aftermath.
Christie found himself in a war of words with a Republican mayor in his state who had supported his prior gubernatorial campaigns, after the mayor asserted that flooding from this storm was worse than 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire, he also faced a student’s question about why he was in New Hampshire rather than his home state. The student said friends and family from all over the state had sent her pictures of heavy flooding.
“All over the state? All over the state? Really? There’s been one county that’s flooded in the state. That was Cape May County,” he said. “So I don’t know where from all over the state, since we have 21 counties, where that’s happened.”
He then quipped: “Do you want me to go down there with a mop?”
Cape May County saw record flooding that reached nine feet, ABC News reported.
Christie later took a shot at a mayor from Cape May County who had claimed flooding in one Jersey Shore town was worse than it had been during Hurricane Sandy.
“I heard one crazy mayor down in South Jersey say this is worse flooding than Sandy. Here’s the one thing you need to know about that mayor. His town didn’t get hit by Sandy. So of course it’s worse than Sandy for him!” Christie said.
“He’s down in North Wildwood, which is south of Atlantic City, for those of you who do not have a masters in New Jersey geography, as I do,” Christie continued. “He’s south of Atlantic City, the storm comes in on Atlantic City and the hurricane tail is whipping north. So if you’re south of where it came on shore, you’re in good shape. So he makes the incredible statement, ‘It’s worse than Sandy!’ Well damn, man. You didn’t get any flooding in Sandy! So if you got a foot of flooding it would be worse than Sandy.”
That mayor, Patrick Rosenello of North Wildwood, New Jersey, told NBC 10 Philadelphia before Christie’s rant that his town experienced a half-foot increase in flooding last weekend compared to what it faced after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Rosenello said he was stunned after hearing Christie’s remarks.
“My children have met the man, I’ve met his wife and his children. I’ve spent a lot of hours with him over the years during his runs for governor, his visits to town, during Hurricane Sandy when he was here. So it’s just disappointing that a man who is the governor of New Jersey, a man who is running for president of the United States would lower the discourse in a situation such as this just as he did last night,” he told Fox 29.
He continued: “There was no reason for it. The situation was moving along. We were working with the state to resolve this and, for whatever reason, whatever calculation he made, he decided to start name calling.”
He said what he perceived as disregard from Christie for emergency responders, business owners, and residents who had to suffer through the storm was “unbelievable.”
“His lack of compassion is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it quite frankly from an elected official,” he said. “I’ve been a big supporter of Governor Christie. I supported his efforts after Hurricane Sandy. But, I don’t know what happened this time. It seems like he made a decision last Friday, that this storm wasn’t going to be a big storm. He wasn’t going to focus on it and he was going to focus on something else.”
Here’s a shot of the flooding in Rosenello’s city in the aftermath of last weekend’s winter storm:
Here’s Christie speaking about Rosenello during a rally Monday in Hooksett, New Hampshire, where he also made his “mop” comment:
And here’s Rosenello’s response in an interview with Fox 29:
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