Chris Christie did not pull any punches talking about Ted Cruz on the morning shows Wednesday.
Cruz has been coming under fire this week for his 2013 vote against a federal aid bill for Hurricane Sandy victims. Now that it’s his constituents who need help, the Texas senator doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with a little big government assistance.
“Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy,” Cruz told MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Monday night from inside a shelter housing those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, defending his decision to vote against what he called a “pork”-filled bill. “What I said then and still believe now is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster when people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list.”
Asked about those comments by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who disputed the “two-thirds” charge—Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler also gave it three Pinocchios—Christie delivered this message his one-time presidential primary rival.
“Senator Cruz was playing politics in 2012, trying to make himself look like the biggest conservative in the world,” Christie said. “What I said at the time, both to him and to everybody else was, if you represent a coastal state, don't do this, because your day is going to come and you're going to expect people to help you.”
“I see Senator Cruz and it's disgusting to me that he stands in a recovery center with victims standing behind him as a backdrop and he’s still repeating the same reprehensible lies about what happened in Sandy, and it's unacceptable to me. Absolutely unacceptable,” the governor added. “And I'm not going to let him get away from it.”
“A lot of the reason why I came on this show is to remind people that past is prologue,” he continued. “And if we allow this politics to be played by either party in the next few days, the only people who will suffer are the people in Houston who are suffering right now.”
In a separate appearance on Morning Joe, Christie addressed the embrace—he calls it a handshake, the media called it a hug—he shared with then President Obama in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy just before Election Day in 2012.
“That fact of the matter is, I’d do it again,” Christie said, despite the fact that it became a cudgel for his primary opponents the following cycle. “If it was today, I’d do again, because that’s what you’re paid to do.”
“And this other stuff, that’s not what you’re paid to do,” he said, before working in one last dig at Cruz. “The stuff Cruz was doing, that’s not what you’re paid to do.”