HIGHLANDS, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that President Barack Obama “has kept every promise he’s made” about helping the state recover from Superstorm Sandy.
Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on the 6-month anniversary of the deadly storm, the Republican governor said presidential politics were the last thing on his mind as he toured storm-devastated areas with Obama last fall.
“The president has kept every promise he’s made,” said Christie, widely considered a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. “I think he’s done a good job. He kept his word.”
Christie’s warm embrace of Obama after the storm angered some Republicans, who said it helped tip a close presidential election to the Democrat and away from Mitt Romney, who Christie endorsed and for whom he campaigned last fall.
Christie says he and Obama have fundamentally different views on governing. But he said the two men did what needed to be done for a devastated region.
“I’ve got a job to do,” he said. “You wake up and 7 million of your 8.8 million citizens are out of power, you’re not thinking about presidential politics.”
Christie challenged his critics to put themselves in his shoes while dealing with the massive storm, predicting none of them would have done anything differently.
“I have a 95 percent level of disagreement with Barack Obama,” Christie said. But that did not come into play while dealing with the storm.
“We saw suffering together,” Christie said. “Everything the president promised me they’d do, they’ve done. I don’t have any complaint this morning on the issue of disaster relief.”
Sandy destroyed about 360,000 homes or apartment units in New Jersey, and some areas along the shore are still devastated.
Later Monday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is to appear with Christie at a press conference, where it is expected the secretary will announce federal approval of New Jersey’s plans to spend more than $1.8 billion in federal grants on storm rebuilding and recovery.
“We’ll start to see that aid start flowing this week,” Christie said on the show. “We still have tens of thousands of families who aren’t back in their homes. Job One is to get the grant program going.”
Congress approved more than $60 billion in Sandy relief funds, most of it for New Jersey and New York, despite opposition from many Congressional Republicans who wanted to spend less.