"Duplicity." "Selfishness." "Irresponsible." "Know nothings." These were just some of the political epithets thrown around by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a nuclear press conference Wednesday afternoon, after a federal relief bill designed to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy failed to make it through the House during a last-minute session on the fiscal cliff. Perhaps more damning than Christie's harsh words for all of Congress, which joined a chorus of local GOP infighting led earlier in the day by Rep. Pete King, was who he blamed for the bill: House Speaker John Boehner. "I was given no explanation. I was called at 11:20 last night and told that authority for the vote was pulled by the Speaker," Christie said, adding: "All I can tell you was this was the Speaker's decision — his alone."
You can watch Christie's full opening statement here:
Boehner, whose re-election to the Speakership is not in question, was set to address lawmakers from New York and New Jersey this afternoon. (Update: After the meeting, King said the House would vote on a part of the relief bill Friday, and the rest on January 15.) But what Christie called an issue "about human lives" had already started to fall squarely upon the shoulders of the Speaker. He reserved some harsh words for Congress...
"Disaster relief was something you didn't play games with," Christie said. "It's why the American people hate Congress."— Justin Miller (@justinjm1) January 2, 2013
...but praised House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, with whom Boehner was reported to have grown contentious with during talks on Sunday...
Christie praises Cantor: "Eric was working as hard as he could" to get Sandy aid package done— Seung Min Kim(@seungminkim) January 2, 2013
...and added praise well as noted foe Robert Menendez:
And while Christie didn't completely disavow Boehner ...
...the damage was pretty clear:
Here's the full Christie question-and-answer session, with more barbs galore: