The Republican governor of New Jersey claimed no responsibility those trapped by the snow not on state roads while he was away on vacation to Disneyworld with his family when his state suffered its fifth-largest blizzard on record.
“If someone is snowed into their house, that’s not our responsibility,” Gov. Chris Christie said during his first press conference upon returning from Florida Thursday.
Christie said that he would have repeated this trip and his limit to helping those only trapped on state roads had he the opportunity to do it over again.
“I wouldn’t change the decision even if I could do it right now,” he said. “I had a great five days with my children. I promised that.”
Christie said that the New Jersey government and press was properly informed of his trip and that the former was equipped to handle the storm. Moreover, he said that he was in contact with officials by phone during the blizzard.
“I would give the folks in New Jersey state government and the county government an A for the effort we put in,” he said. “We probably get a B for results.”
Christie blamed local mayors for unplowed neighborhoods even when they diverted resources to plow state roads instead.
“I know who these mayors are and they should buck up and take responsibility for the fact that they didn’t do their job,” he said.
Beth DeFalco of Huffington Post pointed out, however, that Christie’s statement that no one died or that ambulances were unable to reach homes during the historic storm was untrue.
“At least one woman gave birth in her car, and emergency responders had to use a sled to reach another man who was having a heart attack at his home and later died,” she wrote.
DeFalco added, “Those cases appeared isolated, however, given the thousands of people stranded in the storm, which saw 50 mph winds and more than four inches of snow come down an hour.”
Christie said that almost all of the state roads were cleared by Thursday and no further requests were made to clear local roads.
However, Christie filed paperwork to receive federal monies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to defray the costs of the weather-related clearings.
Christie said that 13 counties are in a state of disaster, though these weather events come with the territory.
“If you live in the northeast this is going to happen sometimes,” Christie said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “We just have to be the tough New Jerseyans that we are and grit our teeth and get through it.”
This video is from Mediaite, broadcast Jan. 1, 2011.