NEWARK – Gov Chris Christie said today that his recent lap band surgery to help him drop weight had nothing to do with his future ambition and everything to do with his health.
Christie announced today that he had surgery over the Presidents Day holiday.
Christie took a combative tone when asked why he kept the surgery a secret.
“From my perspective and my family’s perspective the steps I’ve taken recently are for me and Mary Pat and the kids,” he said. “It’s nobody else’s business.”
Asked if he hoped to lose weight in advance of a potential run for president, Christie said his only goal was to improve his health.
“It’s not a career issue for me, it’s a long-term health issue,” he said.
Christie’s announcement to the New York Post set off a media frenzy that drew dozens of print and television reporters to an afternoon press conference at Newark Tech in the Brick City.
The press conference was held to announce an expansion of the school, but the gathered media were there to talk about weight loss.
Christie seemed annoyed at the level of coverage, saying the amount of gathered media was indicative of how “shallow” press coverage has become.
He called it an “intensely personal” decision and said he has no interest in being a role model to overweight people.
Pundits and press alike speculate that the surgery, which entails wrapping a band around the stomach pouch, was done in advance of a 2016 presidential bid.
Christie’s weight has been a favorite topic for talking heads and late night comics, many of whom openly wonder if a man of Christie’s weight could be elected President.
But even at his current weight, Christie is on the short list of potential Republican challengers.
Christie declined to say how much weight he has lost or how much he hopes to shed in the future.
The governor is vying for re-election and is facing off against Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, (D-18), the presumptive nominee.
Christie’s weight has not seemed to hamper his chances, as recent polls have him up 30 points.
The governor said there was no decision to release the story now, he simply responded to a press inquiry from the New York Post.
“If I had my way I never would have talked about it. But I made the decision that I was never going to lie about it,” Christie said.
He said the impetus for his decision was his 50th birthday and his desire to live a long life with his children. “I still have two children in elementary school… I’m in this father business for awhile and god willing someday I’ll be in the grandfather business.”
Christie said the only conversation he had with anyone who had had the surgery was with Jets coach Rex Ryan, who got the surgery last year.
“I was having a phone conversation with Rex and he brought up the fact that he had the surgery and what it was like. He’s the only person that talked to me about the surgery other than my physician.”