Christie: ‘Reprehensible lies’ from ‘disgraceful’ Cruz on storm aid
By NBC News
Sen. Ted Cruz (left) and NJ Gov. Chris Christie. AP photos
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz voted against Hurricane Sandy relief in 2013, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not letting him — or anyone else — forget it.
As deadly storm Harvey continues to overwhelm cities along the Lone Star State's gulf coast and lawmakers push for federal funds, Christie said Wednesday that the junior Texas senator was "crap" for claiming to have supported aid for the Garden State despite his no vote.
"Dead wrong," Christie said of Cruz's claims in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, before calling the senator "disgraceful."
"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 I’m not going to let him get away with it,” Christie added on CNN.
Christie was referring to an MSNBC interview earlier this week, where Cruz, standing in a Texas disaster relief center, defended his 2013 vote, claiming the Sandy aid bill had "unrelated pork" and "two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy."
"The accurate thing to say is that I and a number of others enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Sandy," Cruz told MSNBC Monday. "It’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster when people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list."
But Christie wasn't having it.
"It is an absolute, outright falsehood," Christie told CNN, referring to Cruz's "two-thirds" claim.
His TV appearances Wednesday are the latest in a series of blistering verbal attacks Christie has unleashed against Cruz in recent days, raking him over the coals for wanting Harvey aid despite voting against funds for Christie's state when it was in a similar time of need.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, fact-checked the senator's claim and gave it “Three Pinocchios,” meaning “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.” The paper said the Sandy bill was not filled with pork and the majority of the funds supported disaster relief, contrary to what Cruz claimed.
Cruz's office did not respond to a request for comment.
"He talks about playing politics — that was he did with people’s lives in 2012 and 2013, he was playing politics to try to make himself look like the most conservative guy in town," Christie said on "Morning Joe."
"He should just stand up now and say, 'You know what? I was wrong. I was wrong in (2013), it was the wrong thing to do and now I hope that the people of New York and New Jersey are willing to let bygones be bygones and vote for relief for Texas,'" he added.
The bombastic governor added his voice to a chorus of politicians from the New York-New Jersey area highlighting the "no" votes from Cruz and other Texas lawmakers. Sandy pummeled New York City and New Jersey and other parts of the region in 2012, causing tens of billions in damage and killing more than 100 people.
Cruz, Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn and 23 House members from Texas voted against Sandy relief. The measure passed anyway.
Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., called Cruz a "hypocrite," but said he would support aid to Texas.
Christie said the next thing for lawmakers to do is not repeat delays Sandy recovery experienced.
"Congress needs to get back to work next week and pass a bill that starts to fund the recovery," he said on CNN.
"If the federal government is not here to help people when 50 inches of rain fall on them in a historic way then what the hell are they there for?"