ABC News Exclusive: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls his state’s teachers union ‘political thugs’

In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawye for ABC’s World News Tonight, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie took another shot

In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawye for ABC’s World News Tonight, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie took another shot at his state’s teachers Wednesday by describing their union leaders as “political thugs.”

In an interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, Christie offered no apology for his often tough talk that has left some teachers feeling bruised. 

While sitting in the school library at Lincoln School in Kearney, N.J., Christie told Sawyer that it’s essential for his state’s education system to change and he blames the teachers union for the harsh cuts his administration is making, that includes layoffs and larger classrooms.

“I believe the teachers in New Jersey in the main are wonderful public servants that care deeply. But their union, their union are a group of political thugs,” Christie said.

He said the New Jersey Education Association refused to negotiate on a salary freeze last year. “They should have taken the salary freeze. They didn’t and now, you know, we had to lay teachers off.”

More  of the interview can be seen on “ABC World News”  tonight.

“They chose to continue to get their salary increases rather than be part of the shared sacrifice,” he said.

Dismissing objections to his blunt talk, Christie said, “We’re from New Jersey and when you’re from New Jersey, what that means is you give as good as you get.”

Christie is also suggesting a dramatic change in the state’s tenure program, forcing tenured teachers to undergo a yearly review and face removal from tenure if they’re found to be ineffective.

  ABC News Exclusive: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls his state’s teachers union ‘political thugs’