Police in New Jersey escorted a former Navy SEAL from an event on Thursday after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) called him an “idiot.”
During a town hall-style meeting in Florence Township, a 34-year-old law school student William Brown, a U.S. veteran of three deployments in Iraq, explained that he was upset that Christie was allowing Rutgers Camden to lose the “Rutgers” name when it merges with Rowan Unversity, according to The Star-Ledger.
“I know that all my friends in the military no matter what state they’re from respect that fact that I go to Rutgers,” Brown told the governor. “It’s also true that none of my friends in the military no matter what state they’re from have ever heard of Rowan.”
Although Christie pointed out that current students would still graduate under the Rutgers name, the former SEAL wasn’t satisfied.
“What about my son? What about my neighbors? What about my friends?” he shouted.
“Listen we’re not going to get into a debate here, ok?” Christie replied. “I sat here and listened to your story and your position — excuse me — without interrupting you.”
“It’s not a story, it’s the truth,” Brown shot back.
“Do you want to hear the answer or no? Do you want to hear me answer or don’t you? Because I’m not going to — I’ve heard you. OK, next question,” Christie said.
“Let me tell you something after you graduate from law school you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end is going to be thrown in jail, idiot,” he added.
“I’m a combat veteran Navy SEAL, how’s that?” Brown yelled as police escorted him from the building.
Outside the event, Brown spoke to reporters, while a police officer menacingly stood behind him.
“I thought it was inappropriate,” he said. “I thought freedom of expression, I voiced myself. I was never any threat. I never said. I never said anything that was threatening. I was advocating for Rutgers Camden and for working families in south Jersey.”
“I thought he lost his cool,” the veteran remarked. “He was trying to shut me down… I thought he’s a bully sometimes and I don’t think that’s how a governor should react.”
Brown, a Democrat, lost his bid for the New Jersey State Assembly last year in the highly-Republican Burlington County district.
“Some of the biggest problems of young veterans getting involved in the political field is that a lot of us have some real integrity,” he told The Star-Ledger at the time. “I think that there is going to be some serious friction.”
Watch this video from The Star-Ledger, broadcast March 8, 2012.