BORDENTOWN – Less than a week after he got in a Town Hall scrap with a war veteran, Gov. Chris Christie made no apologies about calling William Brown an idiot.
“He acted like an idiot, he’s an idiot,” Christie told reporters. “I have no regret I allowed him to talk for two, two and a half minutes, and every time I tried to answer he interrupted.
“I lay the rules out in the beginning,” the governor said. “If you give it you’re going to get it back. I’m going to give it right back to you. The fact that he’s a Navy SEAL doesn’t give him the right to be a jerk. I honor his service. …But that does not give you a right to be an idiot.”
Brown, who objects to Christie’s endorsement of a plan to merge Rutgers South Jersey into Rowan University, isn’t new to politics, Christie said.
“Don’t forget, this guy was a Democratic candidate for the Assembly in the 8th district,” he said.
“You want to punch me, I’m going to punch you back,” Christie added. “He can cry his crocodile tears, but he came in there to accomplish something.”
That wasn’t good enough for Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6), a prospective 2013 challenger to the governor, who demanded that Christie issue a personal apology.
“Unless Governor Christie is using his town hall meetings to audition for a spot on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, he should apologize immediately for his immature and nasty remarks,” Greenwald said. “Legitimate policy disagreements should never devolve into school yard taunts, especially with so many tough issues facing our state, such as nation-leading property taxes that have gotten worse under this Governor and a high unemployment rate that continues to exceed our neighbors’ and the national average.
“Though I vehemently disagree with his preference of coddling millionaires over providing real middle-class property tax relief, I respect Governor Christie’s right to express his opinions on policy issues, as I respect the similar right of all our state’s citizens. We can strongly disagree without being disagreeable. Governor Christie should remember that he works for Mr. Brown and millions of other New Jersey citizens, not the other way around. Governor Christie should personally apologize to Mr. Brown immediately.”