New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he rejects the notion that he hugged President Obama in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Speaking with Boston Herald radio on Monday morning, Christie emphatically denied his 2012 embrace of President Obama was anything more than a "civil handshake" and defended touring the storm damage with president.
"Well, let me just say this, first off, the embrace of President Obama is just an absolute falsehood," Christie said Monday. "So let's start with that. The fact that when the President of the United States got off his helicopter I shook his hand. Now, I will not every apologize for shaking the hand of another human being. Especially someone who's the president of the United States, who's coming to my state to survey damage and to try to lend help to people who are suffering."
Christie noted his state suffered serious damage in the wake of the storm.
"Let's remember, we lost 350,000 homes in 24 hours," continued Christie. "We didn't have an operational water treatment or waste-water treatment plant. Every school in New Jersey was closed. Every major highway was closed. We had people who were living in shelters who could not get the essentials of life if they weren't provided to them by the government."
Christie turned back to the so-called "obsession" with his embrace of the president. something his opponent, Sen. Rand Paul, singled out at the first Republican debate.
"And so this emphasis and this obsession with the fact that I was courteous to the president of United States," said Christie. "I was gonna be really clear with everybody, I took an oath of office, and my oath of office was to protect the people of the state of New Jersey and I do not make one apology for the way I conducted myself in office. And now three years later, our state is largely rebuild. Our tourism season this year on the Jersey shore was the best we've had in decades and for most people in New Jersey their lives are back to a new normal."
"Shaking the president of the United States' hands is the least we should do to have civility in our country and get some progress made," added Christie. "So I make no apologies, for it at all. And let's stop calling it a hug or an embrace because that's not what it was. It was a handshake. A civil hand shake that we would do with anybody that was coming to office help and assistance to the people of my state."
Here are some of photos of the two post-storm below:
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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