Christie: Confrontational hecklers will drive off politicians
LOS ANGELES — Gov. Chris Christie said that by physically threatening politicians you're risking them having less interaction with the public, but defended President Donald Trump's support of a congressman who once threatened a reporter.
The former governor's comments to TMZ at the Politicon gathering in Los Angeles, come as Senator Mitch McConnell was confronted by a group as he ate dinner at a Louisville, Kentucky restaurant. One of the men at the restaurant pounded his fists on the table and said "Why don't you get out of here? Why don't you leave the entire country," according to WLKY TV.
The Washington Post reported that Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi was surrounded by a group of Republicans during a campaign appearance in Florida who called her a communist in Spanish and English.
"I'm concerned about any folks who are outside and acting violently and acting without any civility. And I don't care what side of the political aisle you're from it's wrong," Christie said, adding that confrontation should be expected during public events but not afterwards.
"It makes public officials hostages inside their own homes because then you don't want to go out, you're not going to see them and you won't get a feel for what they're like other than what they put in TV commercials and I don't think we want that," Christie said.
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The governor defended Trump's support of Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault for an attack on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. "Any guy that can do a body slam — he's my kind of guy," Trump said to cheers and laughter from the crowd. "He's a great guy, tough cookie," Trump told a political rally in Montana.
Christie said that Trump is from Queens, which makes him sarcastic with a unique sense of humor that those in nearby New Jersey understand.
"The president doesn't literally mean he thinks it was a good idea to do that," referring to the Republican's body slam of the British reporter in 2017.
Christie had his own share of confrontations both publicly at his town hall events and on his own time. In 2012 he was caught on video walking towards someone on the Seaside Heights boardwalk while holding an ice cream cone. "You're a real big-shot shooting your mouth off," Christie said
The video did not show what precipitated Christie's yelling. The Christie administration said at the time that someone swore at the governor, who was with his children. A voice can be heard saying, "Just take care of the teachers." Many New Jersey teachers disagreed with Christie's education policies.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.