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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sounds like Christie is warming up to follow in Gov. Walkers' footsteps by Union bashing.
    A word of advice Christie, being a New Yorker I can tell you that the people from Jersey won't go "quetly into the night" like the folks from Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and Maine. Good luck starting some Union bashing in your neck of the woods.
    Got milk?!

    April 7, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Shawn

    It's pretty disgusting how today's Republicans are trying to trick their idiot supporters into believing union members and teachers (TEACHERS!) are some kind of privileged elite and not the corporate billionaires who are crushing the middle class with their greed so they can pay a little less in taxes. Republicans have always relied on scared, ignorant, easily manipulated, low-information voters, but this is ridiculous.

    April 7, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. John

    Christie is calling somebody else a thug? That's a good one!

    April 7, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Greg in Arkansas

    Collective Bargaining is the reason we had a middle class, as opposed to a rich elite and a poor working class. Everyone benefitted when workers used the power of collective bargaining to get fair compensation as the people who did the actual work. Say good bye middle class. Say hello poverty and subsistence living.

    Tax cuts for the rich, wage cuts for everyone else will soon convert the US into a 3rd world economy.

    April 7, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Thomas

    Did the senate agree to a salary freeze? Or Christie for that matter?

    April 7, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Pete

    Shared sacrifice? LOL. While state budgets are balanced (although not really) on middle-class union members, the super rich and corporations pay little or no taxes. Thugs? The GOP and Tea Party.

    April 7, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  7. Dan

    Wow, Christie is calling union leaders thugs for representing their membership, what do you call christie, walker, corbett and the rest of the new gov. that represent the koch brothers and corporate interest. Once the investigations are done we will call them criminals.

    April 7, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    The sad thing is that good teachers, people who do some of the most important work in the country, are being mis-served by those who run their union and are supposed to safeguard their employment. By taking a gamble and throwing the union's weight around irresponsibly, they have cost some good teachers their jobs. Their union leaders have a responsibility to the teachers and to the kids for knowing when to be reasonable and not be overwhelmed by greed. They have failed in this regard and it is unfortunate to those teachers and students who are affected by their misguided gambles. There were no winners in that decision.

    April 7, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    There is no shared sacrifice going on in The Garden State. Just like in all the other union busting states, the middle class is the only people sacrificing. I despise how these governors like Christie try to shift blame to everyone else except himself.

    April 7, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. BobRayTalbot

    I understand Gov. Christie's sentiment, but it only cements my feeling that this man needs to be President of the United States. We have GOT TO get someone in that office with the moral integrity to save this nation from implosion.

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

    "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.

    Yes, it IS the point. If he had a chance of winning, Christie would run in a heartbeat. Since he knows with 100% certainty that he would lose, he decided to keep his day job. Typical of someone who does NOT stand up for his supposed ideals.

    April 7, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Seattle Sue

    Christie is the thug in New Jersey.

    April 7, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  13. gt

    the voters have finally figure out that the teachers unions dont give a damn about the students... they care for there vacations in the summer , christmas , thanksgiving , spring break, federal holidays....if most american could tape the conversation in the teachers lounges ... they would home school... yea.. there are union thugs taking more of you tax payers money and giving second class education.....

    April 7, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Realistic

    Governor Chrisitie is no different that the thugs that work within the republican party. Unions are no the problem, the problem is that we lack leadrship with a backbone and the Gov. Of Nj is no different. He clamours up when unions are mentioned and yet he unleashes massive tax breaks on the wealthy. The "trickle up" fiscal policy is in effect also in NJ and this will hurt the state as it will hurt the nation. The republican policies are making the nation top heavy and they are weaking the base and eventually all of it will fall down. Its very simple, to build a house you need a strong base because a heavy roof without a strong supporting mechanism will not stand. Fiscal responsibilty has been lost on the party of draconian policies(republicans).

    April 7, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    The recent budget crisis was brought on by Wall Street excesses and the resulting recession, not by teachers. While teachers are willing to take a salary cut and pay contribute more for their pensions and health care, Wall Street fat cats are receiving record compensation and bonuses. GOP/Tea Party politicians believe the Wall Street argument for paying talented people doesn't apply to teachers.

    April 7, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. Carol

    Christie is a political thug. He should stop picking on teachers and go after corporations who don't pay taxes.

    April 7, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. kyle

    This guy is just another sorry Governor who takes from the teachers and give to the rich!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 7, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. chad

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

    Irony: he was talking about teachers making $50k a year, not financial CEO's and corporate hacks making millions while contributing nothing to society.

    April 7, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Clwyd

    Hey Christie!, It is nice to know that your children are being taught by thugs. What a fat fool you are! If you want to see what your hate words will get you come to Wisconsin where our state has been virtually shut down due to similar words from our college dropout of a governor

    April 7, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. Paul

    You know, instead of shooting his mouth off why doesn't this guy try to work with somebody once in a while. He needs to look at the latest election in Wisconsin to see how this sort of behavior is working out for republican governors.

    All these idiots need to learn one single word: COMPROMISE. Stop listening to the right wing lunatic fringe in their parties and do what is best for the American people. This type of name calling and behavior is childish and serves no purpose other than to make people angry.

    April 7, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. stevetall

    Takes one to know one!

    April 7, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Sylvia Saint

    I find it odd that America allows these, arrogant, cocky, condescending,bullying, intimidating, emotional and irrational "LEADERS", with a "chip-on-their-shoulder to run roughshod, like a bull-in-a-China-shop.

    [There, I think I used all the "labels" that are often put on a female or minority leader whom the majority seeks to marginalize].

    Can you imagine if a black executive or a woman executive conducted themselves this way? They'd be the victim of character and professional assasination. I know because I've seen it !

    April 7, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. Marty, FL

    Pot, meet kettle.
    Christie's hypocrisy

    April 7, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

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

    Lead by example, fat boy. Create revenue by raising taxes on the corporations in your state; they use the infrastructure, like roads, bridges, waterways, police, fire, EMT, and expect an educated populace to work for them and have good enough jobs to buy their products.

    No more corporate welfare! Make THEM share the sacrifice!

    April 7, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. BlackPanthers2020

    And people think that this tub of lard and a walking heart attack waiting to happen is actually helping his state !!!!! I have relatives in Jersey and they say it's one of the worst states to live in here on the east coast !!!

    April 7, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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