Chris Christie, New Jersey’s former governor known for blunt talk, opened up for the first time about his successor Phil Murphy, ribbing him about politely asking people to exit the shore during a storm and criticizing his budget for raising taxes.
Christie, a Republican who left office in January after two terms, said it’s been nine months and that since Murphy, a Democrat, has passed a budget, enacted a number of bills and regularly raises his name it was time to open up. Murphy frequently laments the state of the state he inherited.
“It’s his state now,” he said. “Now we begin to judge. Not on promises but on what you deliver. Not on how you sound but on what you do.”
Christie cast his remarks as a recipe for Republicans hoping to take back office now that Democrats control all parts of the state government.
The advice was a laundry list of policies enacted under his administration: rejecting tax hikes, a 2 percent property tax cap and a public worker pension overhaul. He said Republicans should tout those things as achievements.
Murphy, a former Obama administration ambassador to Germany and Wall Street executive, won election by double digits over Christie’s Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno last year, frequently by bashing Christie.
His first budget included a tax hike on corporations that phases out over four years and on people making more than $5 million. He said the hikes were needed to meet the state’s obligations like school aid and pensions.
Christie kept his remarks mostly policy-based, but he also ribbed his successor’s polite style. During preparations surrounding Hurricane Florence this year, Murphy alluded to Christie’s get off the beach comment from 2011.
“Please may I ask you to get off the beach,” Murphy said.
Christie, wondering how voters saw that, responded with a rhetorical question.
“Do they want a governor who says get … off the beach or do they want one who says pretty please, pretty please get off the beach?”
Christie is now an ABC political commentator and has opened a law firm and consulting company in Morristown. He also has a book coming out in January.