During a staged event in the New Jersey town of Belmar Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got into a confrontation with a former Asbury Park City Councilman who was part of a group of protesters demanding Christie “finish the job” when it comes to rebuilding the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Christie played up to the crowd and the cameras by going off on an unhinged rant against James Keady, a small business owner and former councilman.
Keady held up a sign during Christie’s speech and Christie addressed him from the podium. Keady’s sign read “Get Sandy families back in their homes — Finish the Job!” For roughly two minutes, Christie then verbally attacked and disparaged Keady, apparently unaware that Keady was actually a former politician himself, an organizer of an action group trying to get unused Sandy funds to local homeowners and businesses and a person who has been on the ground helping since Sandy hit nearly two years ago.
“I’m glad you had your day to show off but we’re the ones who are here to actually do the work. So turn around and get your 15 minutes of fame and then maybe take your jacket off and roll up your sleeves and do something for the people of this state.
I’d be more than happy to have a debate with you anytime you like, guy, because somebody like you who doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here, buddy, and done the work.
It’s been 23 months since then, when all you’ve been doing is flapping your mouth and not doing anything! So listen, you want to have that conversation later, I’m happy to have it, buddy. But until that time, sit down and shut up!”
Even though Christie claimed that he’d debate with Keady “anytime” regarding the governor’s Sandy recovery efforts, when Keady offered to meet Christie for dinner to discuss, the governor mockingly dismissed him.
“I’ll tell ya, there’s about 1,000 things I’ll do tonight, going to dinner with you is about 1,001.”
Below is video of the entire confrontation, courtesy of American Bridge 21st Century:
Obviously, Christie was playing to his supporters and the cameras, thinking it was time for a classic Christie bullying session. He was likely unaware that Keady is a former councilman who is leading an effort to create awareness of the large amount of money sitting unused that should be going directly to residents to help rebuild or relocate. Mere hours after Christie berated him in front of the crowd, Keady appeared on MSNBC’s All In to give his side of the story.
Not only did Keady articulately get his point across and bring further awareness to the slow response from the governor’s office when it comes to the Hurricane Sandy recovery, but he and Hayes also pointed out the irony behind Christie claiming that he is there when the cameras aren’t, all the while saying this at a staged media event. It is apparent that Christie thought he was just rolling over someone who would just take the abuse and leave to the crowd’s jeers. He didn’t realize the double-edged sword that would follow. Keady was well-prepared for what would inevitably occur at the event and Christie would look like an out-of-control bully with serious anger management issues.
The hosts at Morning Joe discussed Christie’s outburst on Thursday morning. Even though Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough referred to Keady as a “heckler” multiple times, they agreed that this was a bad look for Christie. Considering that up through Bridgegate they were the two biggest Christie honks you could find in media, it says something that they criticized Christie for his actions. Scarborough pointed out that Christie likely needs anger management classes. Panelist John Heilemann said that all of the YouTube videos of Christie’s outbursts that helped make him a household name was probably a big influence on him taking it to this level.
This tirade from Christie comes on the heels of him daring a nurse to sue him and further solidifies Christie’s reputation as an insecure bully. No longer can supporters just claim that he ‘tells it like it is’ or ‘shoots from the hip.’ No, he just tries to bully his way through situations that aren’t in his favor. In these instances, Christie is taking heat for his mandatory quarantines of health workers who treated Ebola patients as well as his slow response to the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. His first and only instinct is to shout someone down. That’s what he knows. And he wants to be President. Think about that.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).