A somber and visibly angry Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) held a press conference during which he slammed Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford and praised President Barack Obama for their handling of the ferocious superstorm devastating the East Coast.
Despite Christie’s warnings to evacuate the state to avoid Hurricane Sandy, Langford advised Atlantic City residents to stay and ride out the storm. They are now trapped with no rescue in sight until possibly morning.
“Mayor Langford told them to stay at shelters in the city and now they’re stuck,” Christie said is obvious angry disbelief. “Despite my admonition to evacuate, he gave them comfort, for some reason, to stay. We have a large number of people, we can’t quantify at this point, and at this juncture, there is no other way for us to go in and get them; they’re just going to have to ride out the storm there.”
Gov. Christie said he could not, “in good conscience,” send workers out in dark, dangerous conditions to attempt to rescue people who were told to evacuate. On the other hand, Mayor Langford told his residents to seek shelter at a school — literally blocks away from the ocean.
“You have a mayor, a rogue mayor, telling his citizens not to leave, that it’s O.K. not to leave,” Mr. Christie said. “I don’t know what you call that. I don’t call it effective governance.”
According to the New York Times, Gov. Christie also held the residents who decided to stay accountable for their own actions. Reportedly, there were some who were angry that they evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irene and Christie voiced his contempt at that logic:
“I will never understand these people,” he said. “They came home to very little property damage and they were alive. And they’re angry because they spent a couple of days at Rutgers. We’re going to see how they feel now, when they stayed. It’s just not acceptable conduct.”
“And now I’m going to have federal and state emergency personnel going in there first thing tomorrow morning with live downed electrical wires all over the place, risking their lives,” Mr. Christie said. “Because Mayor Langford was worried that some of his people were angry? That’s not leadership, everybody.”
Though Christie was the keynote at the Republican National Convention, where he heartily endorsed GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, he was not hesitant about praising the leadership of President Obama during this Superstorm. In an unexpected call from the White House, Obama told Christie to call him directly if his needs were not being met and there was anything else that the federal government could do.
“I appreciate that call from the president,” Mr. Christie said. “It was very proactive. I appreciate that kind of leadership.”