Christie takes aim at union 'thugs'
April 7th, 2011
10:12 AM ET
12 years ago

Christie takes aim at union 'thugs'

Washington (CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is keeping the heat on his state's teachers unions, declaring their leaders are "political thugs."

In an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday, Christie said he puts blame on the unions for resisting change that he thinks will benefit students in the long run.

"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," he said.

Specifically he blamed the unions for a recent round of teacher layoffs, an event that he says could have been avoided if union leaders agreed to a salary freezes last year.

"They chose to continue to get their salary increases rather than be part of the shared sacrifice," said Christie.

Christie's tough talk on unions has in part rocketed the New Jersey Republican to stardom within the ranks of the GOP and led many Republicans to clamor for a Christie presidential run in 2012.

But Christie, who has only been governor for a little over a year, insists 2012 is not his year.

"No, I'm not running for president," he said. "I don't feel ready in my heart to be president. And unless I do, I don't have any right offering myself to the people of this country."

"I don't want to participate in the vanity exercise just because people ask me to do it or because people say, 'You could win.' That's not the point," he added.

Meanwhile, those comments came the same day Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley – the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association – hammered Christie over the issue of jobs on the New Jersey governor's own turf.

"Probably the most disappointing of all – especially if you are a mom or dad looking for a job in New Jersey – is Governor Christie's totally dismissive attitude toward the very things that create jobs, the things that we can only do together – educating, innovating, and rebuilding our transportation infrastructure to create jobs," O'Malley said at a Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in New Brunswick Wednesday night.

Filed under: Chris Christie
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Bruce

    Martin O'Malley is a joke. He should be morew worried about his own state and the mess HE created before he points the finger at someone else.

    April 7, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Positive

    This is madness! All my life teachers have been honored and admired & now suddenly with this new version of the Republican party they're THUGS?!?!?!?!!?

    April 7, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Rosslaw

    This is the vitally important list of groups we should hate since they are the source of all of the world's ills as per the masters of disaster, the Republican party:
    1. Planned Parenthood
    2. AARP
    3. teachers
    4. NPR
    5. all unions
    6. the arts

    In return for the total destruction of the above, the Republicans promise:
    1. not a single job
    2. continued decline in the middle class' earning power
    3. protection of the private health insurance industry so that they can continue their exercise of death panels when denying coverage and in-state monopoly power
    4. evisceration of the EPA, SEC and FDA

    People, just think of the national Republican party as our own home grown version of the Russian mafia, but just not as competent.

    April 7, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Christie is the same man who didn't like it when his opponent said "he's pushing his weight around" and now he's calling people thugs. Shame on you Christie, that's now being presidential material.

    April 7, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. aaron

    Chris, how has the rich sacrificed so far? Or maybe he's only talking about the middle class and he's narrowing out union members. From 2000-2008 didn't the population of millionaires go up 18%? He's cutting corporate taxes which for every $1 spent produces about 34 cents on the dollar. He's cutting infastructure spending. for every $1 spent you get economic activity of $1.57. He's cutting state aid to teachers which for every $1 produces $1.41 economic activity. Guess where NJ is going in economic rank? down down down, The opposite of this fat tub o' lard's weight. Republicans suck.

    April 7, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. James

    Christie calling someone a thug...that's rich.

    April 7, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem that Christie hasn't let go of his being a bully. He still is a fighter rather than an administrator. He must understand that if he demonizes unions enough, then there will be a back lash against him. There is only so much the unions can give up. I hope that he isn't planning on pulling a Walker. It does seem like that since he keeps wanting to have the legislature do things rather than talk to the unions. How is that fair and effective? If there are items that are put into law that violate the contract, then there will be more money spent on lawyers and time in court that could be better spent.

    April 7, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    I'm getting sick of the neo-cons trying to make people turn against people in labor unions, parents of pre-school children, food stamp recipients, teachers and old people.
    They may have a disdain for the American public but they have not right to try and turn us agsainst ourselves.
    We don't eat our own like they do.

    April 7, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. John - NJ

    Here is the BIGgest Thug calling the teachers thugs. He is a disgrace!
    Start looking for a Job Chris, you are a one term Governor.

    April 7, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. PalmReader

    Well, one thing never changes within the GOPer ideology ... as long as the media has their groupies covering your every move, keep mugging. Trump and Christie are both cut from the same idiotic egoism of media idolatry. It serves them both well.

    April 7, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I still find it odd how the Democrat that took over his prosecutor's office when he became Governer almost immediately announced indictments on dozens and dozens of government officials on various types of corruption charges within the office's jurisdiction. It is almost as if he was looking the other way. Christie claimed to have been unaware of the investigations prior to his becoming Governer.

    April 7, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Aaron

    He's a Repub, so he should know all about thugs...and apparently even more about lying. The KFC buffet must have been shut down and put him in a bad mood.

    April 7, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. rationalintn

    There is no SHARED sacrifice when corporations get bailouts, pay NO taxes, pay huge bonuses to executives who failed, and continued tax breaks for the wealthy. While those UNION THUGS continue to teach America's children.

    April 7, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. konnarock

    Pot, meet kettle!

    April 7, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Ken in MD

    If union leaders are "political thugs" for fighting for the rights of workers, then Christie and his fellow GOP governors are political thugs for working to kill education, jobs, etc. Instead of blaming unions for the debts these idiots have run up, they should try looking at the massive tax cuts they gave the wealthy and big corporations instead. That's the real cause of the debts. If I'm having trouble paying my bills, I don't ask my boss to cut my income.

    April 7, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Palin: Like Coulter ... Minus the Manparts

    Union "thugs" versus gubernatorial "thugs" like him. He makes for good T.V. and sound bites but that the extent of his "talent".

    April 7, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. eunice

    chris christie is the thug

    April 7, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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