Fellow Governors Go Easy on Christie

Fallin and Hickenlooper say none of their colleagues have called on Christie to resign as RGA Chair

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attends his election night event after winning a second term at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on November 05, 2013 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Incumbent Governor Chris Christie defeated his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono by a commanding margin. 
Getty Images
Karyn Bruggeman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Karyn Bruggeman
Feb. 21, 2014, 1:15 p.m.

On the eve of this week­end’s winter meet­ing of the Na­tion­al Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation, the group’s lead­ers offered en­cour­age­ment to a be­sieged col­league, New Jer­sey Gov­ernor Chris Christie.

NGA chair Mary Fal­l­in, R-Okla. and vice-chair John Hick­en­loop­er, D-Colo., stopped well short of de­fend­ing Christie dur­ing a private meet­ing with re­port­ers Fri­day at the J.W. Mar­ri­ott hotel in Wash­ing­ton. But the pair did of­fer broad em­pathy to­ward him as a fel­low gov­ernor deal­ing with polit­ic­al is­sues in a state that’s nat­ur­ally at odds with Christie’s party.

“All gov­ernors have is­sues they have to deal with wheth­er you’re Re­pub­lic­an or Demo­crat,” Fal­l­in said. “It’s not easy to lead,” es­pe­cially, she says, when “you have dif­fer­ent fac­tions with­in your state and across the na­tion.”

Hick­en­loop­er re­layed that Christie’s Bridgeg­ate troubles have spawned jokes in his home state of Col­or­ado, but ac­know­ledged that he, as a cen­ter-left Demo­crat in a swing”“state, doesn’t face quite the same polit­ic­al fric­tion as Christie does as a Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernor in a blue state. Hick­en­loop­er says people have joked, “The traffic com­ing out of Boulder is really tough. Well, maybe Hick­en­loop­er had a dis­agree­ment with one of the Re­pub­lic­an com­mis­sion­ers of Boulder. Oh, well ac­tu­ally that’s right, there are no Re­pub­lic­an com­mis­sion­ers in Boulder.”

Hick­en­loop­er says people in Col­or­ado make those kinds of jokes be­cause the no­tion of polit­ic­al re­tri­bu­tion is “just nev­er con­sidered” in his state, which he chalked up to re­gion­al dif­fer­ences in the way politi­cians tra­di­tion­ally op­er­ate in the north­east versus the west, dif­fer­ences which he says “have made [Christie’s] job more dif­fi­cult.”

Fal­l­in ar­gued that Christie has been a “good lead­er.” “He’s proven this dur­ing Hur­ricane Sandy. He’s taken on tough is­sues, and at times been pretty strong in his words and how he feels about things. But there are a lot of oth­er gov­ernors that have done those same things as far as ex­press­ing their opin­ions, tak­ing on tough is­sues, fight­ing the good fight to cre­ate change in their states.”

Des­pite much chat­ter to the con­trary, neither Hick­en­loop­er nor Fal­l­in says they have heard of any gov­ernor call­ing on Christie to resign as chair of the Re­pub­lic­an Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation.

“I’ve nev­er heard of any gov­ernor of any party say that,” Hick­en­loop­er said.

As for what will hap­pen to Christie in the long run, Fal­l­in em­phas­ized the im­port­ance of tak­ing the ne­ces­sary time “to sep­ar­ate the facts from the polit­ics.”

For now, Fal­l­in’s ad­vice to Christie is to fo­cus on his job as gov­ernor. “Every time a gov­ernor goes through something like that you’ve just got to keep the fo­cus on, as [former Mis­sis­sippi Gov­ernor] Haley Bar­bour used to say, you’ve got to keep fo­cus­ing on the main things, the main things, the main thing,” Fal­l­in said. “Keep up what you’d nor­mally be do­ing as a gov­ernor, and don’t get dis­trac­ted by all this oth­er stuff and this noise that’s out there.”

What We're Following See More »
HAD ATTRACTED A CROWD TODAY
Alt-Right Leader Spencer Removed from CPAC
15 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
SAYS LEFT WILL GO INTO “MELTDOWN”
Cruz Predicts Another SCOTUS Vacancy “This Summer”
19 hours ago
THE LATEST
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
21 hours ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
NPR ALSO LAUNCHES ETHICS WATCH
Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
21 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login