MANCHESTER, N.H. — Governor Chris Christie said Thursday that “nobody in America cares” who holds the title of speaker of the US House, continuing his attacks on the gridlock in Washington, D.C. from the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire.
“I don’t think it matters,” said the Republican presidential hopeful during a stop at Granite State Manufacturing. “Nobody in America cares… What the American people want is a Congress that actually does something.”
The New Jersey governor’s comments came hours after the surprise decision by US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, to drop out of the race to succeed US House Speaker John Boehner. McCarthy, who was endorsed by Boehner after the current speaker announced his resignation at the end of last month, said Thursday that he will no longer seek the position, leaving the House with no current front-runner for its top leadership post.
“It’s so dysfunctional, [and] it’s so ugly down there, that it didn’t matter to me who the speaker was,” Christie said, after further questioning on whom he would support.
Christie, who has served five years as a governor, has tried to position himself as a political outsider, noting he is a Republican in the largely Democratic state of New Jersey.
Christie’s dissatisfaction with the gridlock in Congress resonated with Hillsborough County Commissioner Toni Pappas who said it was one of the reasons she decided to endorse the governor during his first stop in Manchester on Thursday.
“I believe he’s delivered remarkable results for the people in New Jersey which is a blue state,” explained Pappas, “and unlike politicians in Washington D.C., he did so while working with the legislature of the opposite party.”
Pappas continued by praising Christie’s many years of experience working in government, saying it is what makes him stand out in the presidential race.
During the same town meeting before an audience of about 50 at MoeJoe’s Family Restaurant, a local diner, Christie criticized what he called the politicization of the aftermath of the fatal shooting of nine people on Umpqua Community College campus in Oregon last week.
“I think what the president did last week, quite frankly, was obscene,” he said, referring to Obama’s comment following the shooting that, “this is something we should politicize.”
Christie added that he believes America needs more treatment for mental health because “guns don’t shoot themselves. It’s the person with the gun in their hand.”
Questions also touched on climate change and whether workers should be required to join unions.
Matthew Miles Goodrich, 22, who asked the governor for his position on climate change, said he was not satisfied with Christie’s response. Christie acknowledged that climate change is taking place. But, he said, there is no definitive proof that it is directly linked to the extraction of fossil fuels or that it has caused such hurricanes as Sandy.
“If he cares like he said about protecting America for his children and grandchildren… That means getting tough on climate change,” Goodrich said. “That means leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”
Despite frequent trips to the state, Christie’s support in New Hampshire clocked in at just 7 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken last week. He will wrap up his three-day town hall tour on Friday.