Christie blasts Washington on Sandy aid; bridge scandal doesn't come up
February 20th, 2014
03:30 PM ET
10 months ago

Christie blasts Washington on Sandy aid; bridge scandal doesn't come up

Port Monmouth, New Jersey (CNN) – Gov. Chris Christie slammed the federal government and the Obama administration on Thursday for its handling of Superstorm Sandy relief funds at a town hall in Port Monmouth, New Jersey.

The Republican governor in particular took aim at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the red tape involved in filing claims with the National Flood Insurance Program, at one point repeating his line that the agency is "the new F-word."

Christie took unfiltered questions from some of the hundreds of people who filled a Veterans of Foreign Wars post for the 90 minute Q&A session. A few audience members quizzed him on topics other than the recovery from the 2012 storm that ravaged the Jersey Shore.

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But no one asked him about the investigations surrounding last year's orchestrated access lane closures at the George Washington Bridge or allegations that his administration made Sandy recovery funds in Hoboken contingent on the Democratic mayor's approval of a real estate developer's project.

The governor returned to a familiar script, one that he employed while running for re-election last year. Christie said that the recovery from Sandy will take years, not months, but it would be going more quickly if it weren't for the federal government's stringent requirements.

Several people painfully talked about being homeless for more than a year after the storm and being turned down for grants meant to get people back into their homes. An empathetic Christie said the government will not be able to restore things completely back to normal for everyone. While the state sustained more than $30 billion in damage, according to government figures, Christie said the federal government is only providing between $17 billion and $20 billion in recovery funds.

Christie faulted Democrats in Congress for the slow movement of funds, saying additional oversight requirements were to blame for the drawn-out process. New Jersey is preparing to allocate a second round of recovery founds – $1.4 billion – to homeowners and communities hurt by Sandy.

While few in the crowd directed their anger and frustration at Christie, one man did call into question the privatization of the process that determines who receives grants and how much homeowners are entitled to. In a tense confrontation he repeatedly asked the governor why his administration hired the Louisiana firm Hammerman and Gainer to process grant applications and then fired the company after paying them $50 million.

While not directly responding to the question, Christie said it makes more sense to hire contractors to do what is essentially a temporary job than hire new government employees at a greater cost to the state.

Responding to a woman who said her home in Brick Township was demolished after Sandy and all she needed was $50,000 to go back home, Christie said if the checkbook were in his hands she'd be back in her house already.

While the audience was largely friendly to Christie there were some who were clearly not happy with the governor. One Sandy victim held a sign that read "Christie Resign" throughout the entire event. She and others who have been vocally critical of Christie's handling of the Sandy recovery effort were not called on to ask any questions.

This was Christie's 110th public town hall meeting. It was the first time he took questions from New Jersey residents face-to-face since members of his administration were tied to the bridge scandal. At the end of January, he took calls from listeners during a monthly radio show. ​


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Krispy is not responsible for any thing that his appointees in his administration did.

    February 20, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. salty dog

    Sounds like a picnic, this is far from over.

    February 20, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Mary

    Christie, is certainly one ungrateful jerk. Now that he got caught being the bully that he is, he's trying to put the blame of everyone else, but his sorry butt. He used that aid money for his own selfish bullying tactics.

    February 20, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Norma Vessels

    That's it, Governor Christie .. blame the Government who gave you all that money!

    February 20, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The Republican governor in particular took aim at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the red tape involved in filing claims with the National Flood Insurance Program, at one point repeating his line that the agency is "the new F-word."
    ---------------------------
    Gov. Christie is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the misinformed. The controversies surrounding the governor do not involve money that is distributed directly to applicants through FEMA and NFIP, money which the governor does not control. The controversies involve the money that the governor does control, which was intended to help those without insurance, infrastructure repairs, and other needs not covered by direct federal funds.

    In other words, some money was put into the hands of the governor of a state to allocate because he's supposed to know New Jersey's needs better than most of the folks in DC. It's this pot of gold that appears that the governor has been using as a personal slush fund to exact political retribution, or repay political favors.

    February 20, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    The "go to" guy isn't quite what he hyped himself to be after all? Go figure.

    February 20, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    "Hey look over there!" Nice try Governor Crispy.

    February 20, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. rob

    This was a great read from CNN and Steve Kastenbaum. CNN is DESPERATE to keep this NON STORY about a few cones being moved around at the GWB and the Hoboken Mayor's partisan witch hunt allegations alive so when and I quote:

    "But no one asked him about the investigations surrounding last year's orchestrated access lane closures at the George Washington Bridge or allegations that his administration made Sandy recovery funds in Hoboken contingent on the Democratic mayor's approval of a real estate developer's project. "

    ...it is astounding to me they even ran the story. It is obvious that we NJ residents understand that traffic jams at the GWB are a daily occurrence. Despite the breathless partisan charges from Dem's and the relentless overage by the liberal media designed to hurt the Gov, this is far down the list of issues important to the citizens of New Jersey.

    February 20, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    I can't wait for Fair's, Donna's, Tom I or Ricky McD's take on the liberal perspective for this – should be interesting given that Kripsy is exhibiting the very "blame every one but me" characteristics they complain that the POTUS has? LOL

    February 20, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    @rob – Despite the breathless partisan charges from Dem's and the relentless overage by the liberal media designed to hurt the Gov, this is far down the list of issues important to the citizens of New Jersey.
    -----------------------------------–
    I'd love to be able to say that it's not about the bridge (st u p i d) .. but it ISN'T.. That was the catalyst. I kinda liked Krispy, but his exposure by the media (there is actually more right wing media than left) is no different than the media coverage of the lame GOP attempts to bring down Obama with non-existent scandals like the IRSl. The DIFFERENCE here is that much like the IRS "targeting" nobody cares about a few cones on a bridge and a traffic jam. They CARE that it shows the bubba politics behind the scenes, that he doesn't appear to know what's going on in HIS OWN office, and that he potentially misused Federal funds. 'Nuf said!

    February 20, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    -rob

    This was a great read from CNN and Steve Kastenbaum. CNN is DESPERATE to keep this NON STORY about a few cones being moved around at the GWB and the Hoboken Mayor's partisan witch hunt allegations alive so when and I quote:

    "But no one asked him about the investigations surrounding last year's orchestrated access lane closures at the George Washington Bridge or allegations that his administration made Sandy recovery funds in Hoboken contingent on the Democratic mayor's approval of a real estate developer's project. "

    ...it is astounding to me they even ran the story. It is obvious that we NJ residents understand that traffic jams at the GWB are a daily occurrence. Despite the breathless partisan charges from Dem's and the relentless overage by the liberal media designed to hurt the Gov, this is far down the list of issues important to the citizens of New Jersey.
    ****************
    Fine. How about the use of Port Authority Police in making sure the Mayor of Ft lee got the blame? How about the rerouting of federal money to projects after the Tunnel was cancelled? How about his inept handling of Sandy rebuilding money, with it going to construction projects for his politcal friends? Even for NJ, this has to be a new low.

    February 20, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. O'drama ya Mama

    rob

    This was a great read from CNN and Steve Kastenbaum. CNN is DESPERATE to keep this NON STORY about a few cones being moved around at the GWB and the Hoboken Mayor's partisan witch hunt allegations alive so when and I quote:

    "But no one asked him about the investigations surrounding last year's orchestrated access lane closures at the George Washington Bridge or allegations that his administration made Sandy recovery funds in Hoboken contingent on the Democratic mayor's approval of a real estate developer's project. "

    ...it is astounding to me they even ran the story. It is obvious that we NJ residents understand that traffic jams at the GWB are a daily occurrence. Despite the breathless partisan charges from Dem's and the relentless overage by the liberal media designed to hurt the Gov, this is far down the list of issues important to the citizens of New Jersey.
    February 20, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Its not about whether you care or not. Laws were broken. Emails and txt messages prove they did this maliciously.

    February 20, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. faboge

    trying hard to change the subject and dance around his near organized crime levels of corruption! Freaking Sopranos?

    February 20, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    The Sandy fund was 50 million, of which 30 million was PORK for other projects, and NOT for relief.

    February 20, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -The REAL Truth...

    I can't wait for Fair's, Donna's, Tom I or Ricky McD's take on the liberal perspective for this – should be interesting given that Kripsy is exhibiting the very "blame every one but me" characteristics they complain that the POTUS has? LOL
    *************************
    My money is on Donna. Fair and Tom l really don't seem to have commented much, and Ricky, well, Ricky is more interested in depicting Lincoln as a war criminal than in NJ politics. Donna, on the other hand, will manage to see everything but the Knights Templar involved in Christie being exposed for the incompetant blowhard he is. 20 years ago, he was convicted of Character Defamation for an ad he ran in a local race: obviously a case of him envying something his GOP opponant had. Yes, he did it in a primary.

    February 20, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    @The Real Tom Paine – My money is on Donna.
    --------------------
    thanks Tom.. that made me laugh... prolly upset him/her.

    February 20, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Maybe if you warent handing the money out to your friends, it would move faster!!! How many GOP governors are going down this year for being crooks and violating the law???? Christi, walker and mc Donald , SO FAR???????

    February 20, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |