Gov. Chris Christie tonight denied that a series of comments he gave in Florida this weekend about politicians “flip-flopping” on issues were directed towards a potential Republican presidential opponent, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Christie, back on 101.5’s weekly “Ask the Governor” radio show, said he was not aiming to take a swipe at Walker when he told a crowd of about 250 donors during a Republican National Committee retreat on Saturday that they should beware of candidates prone to “pandering” or “flip-flopping”.
A Times article that first reported the comments noted that Walker, who’s emerged something of a frontrunner for the 2016 nomination over the last few weeks, stood nearby as Christie gave his speech.
“How many times have you heard me say that — that you have to be authentic, that you have to say what you believe,” Christie asked when the show’s host brought up the incident.
“If you change your position based on what the person sitting across from you wants to hear, you can’t be trusted,” he added.
Christie, who said he’s gotten a little closer to deciding whether or not to mount a campaign for the nomination next year, also addressed recent controversy surrounding the state’s settlement with Exxon Mobil — using it as an opportunity to smack certain Democratic lawmakers who’ve condemned the deal as too paltry in the face of the amount of environmental damages the oil giant has let behind.
“This is what happens when members of the legislate read the newspaper and think they know what they’re talking about. And they have no idea,” Christie argued, adding that there are “some people” who like to “psychoanalyze” his relationship with members of the legislative leadership.
“But they want to play politics because they’re up for election this year,” he added. “Good for them.”
Later, Christie passed up an opportunity to similarly smack another potential presidential opponent: Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has been embroiled in her own controversy lately surrounding her use of a personal email account while serving as secretary of state.
“The fact is there are always going to be a story out there about Secretary Clinton and others, and my answer is people should follow the law,” Christie said, adding he too uses a private email account and that there is “no law in Jersey that requires state business be done” with an official state email account.
And, asked about the allegations of corruption swirling around U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Christie again took a pass.
“I’m just not going to comment on unsubstantiated leaks,” he said.