New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was playing politics with people’s lives when he voted in 2013 against a federal disaster relief bill for Superstorm Sandy. Christie said Cruz should apologize now that Texas will need the same kind of help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“You know, he should just stand up now and say, ‘You know what? I was wrong,'” Christie said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“It was the wrong thing to do, and now I hope the people of New Jersey and New York are willing to let bygones be bygones and vote for relief for people in Texas,” Christie said.
Cruz, in an interview Monday with Katy Tur on MSNBC, said that he “enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Hurricane Sandy.”
“The problem with that particular bill is that it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork,” Cruz said.
Cruz, who was speaking from the George R. Brown Convention Center in his hometown of Houston, where he was visiting flood victims, said, “Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy. And what I said then and still believe now is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster, when people are hurting, to pay for their political wish list.”
After playing that clip on “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough asked Christie about it.
“He talked about playing politics. That’s what he did with people’s lives in 2012 and 2013,” Christie said of Cruz. “He was playing politics just to try to make himself look like the most conservative guy in town.”
Of Cruz’s claim that two-thirds of the money in the relief bill “had nothing to do with Sandy,” Christie cited a Washington Post fact check this week that gave Cruz “three Pinocchios” for that assertion, concluding: “Cruz is repeating a number of myths about the funding for Sandy disaster relief. The vast majority of the spending was for Hurricane Sandy, including elements (such as Smithsonian repairs) that some lawmakers incorrectly believed were unrelated to the storm.”
PolitiFact Wednesday also rated the Cruz claim as “mostly false.”
“The fact of the matter is that there was a Senate version of a bill that never passed with a lot more spending,” Christie said. “It got stripped out and almost all of the spending in the $50 billion bill was for New York and New Jersey and some of the other areas that got affected by Sandy for hurricane relief.”
“He knows it,” Christie said. “This is why politics has become so cynical in Washington.”
Cruz called into “Fox & Friends” later in the morning and, when asked to respond to Christie’s claims, said, “I’m sorry that there are politicians who seem really desperate to get their names in the news and are saying whatever they need to do that.”
Christie and Cruz were rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but it was Donald Trump, the ultimate victor, who frequently called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.”
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