TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie said today he took no offense at Senate President Steve Sweeney’s recent inflammatory remarks about him, and he described their relationship as “passionate.”
“When you have a passionate relationship like that, sometimes you get over emotional,” he said lightheartedly. “We have a good relationship and we are friends.”
Christie was responding to a question at his press conference in which he announced the effort to restore $149 million in Transitional Aid to towns.
“I don’t take any offense to that,” he added about Sweeney’s remarks. “In a passionate relationship, sometimes you say things you don’t mean.”
He said their work on pensions and benefit reform, among other issues, point that out, adding it would not have progressed without the Senate president’s help.
“We have done amazing things together for the state of New Jersey,” he said. “Just because he said some ill advised things (doesn’t mean it should wipe away) 18 months of bipartisanship.”
After Christie vetoed budget provisions, Sweeney used harsh language about Christie, then a few days later said he probably should have used different language, but did not apologize because he maintained that some of Christie’s budget cuts hurt some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
As far as he’s concerned, the story of Sweeney’s tirade is “two weeks old and long gone.”
He said he hasn’t talked to him since he called him on July 3, but he said he’s ready to talk to him whenever he’s ready.
The governor may be waiting awhile for that return call.
At his own press conference Monday afternoon, Sweeney said the call the governor made at 6:30 a.m. that day was strictly about his tirade against Christie that was published in The Star Ledger. It had nothing to do with aid restoration or government programs. He said if the governor’s phone call that day was about wanting to talk about issues, “then I’ve got a bridge I want to sell you.”
He also questioned the governor’s characterization that they’re friends.
“It’s hard to call someone a friend when you hurt the people he’s hurt,” he said.