Chris Christie was working the phone from an Amtrak Acela train to Washington this afternoon, bashing Gov. Phil Murphy and saying that he’s helping Senate President Steve Sweeney with his messaging, according to a source who sat near the former governor and was able to hear his end of the conversation.
Christie claims to be “coordinating” with Sweeney and said that he told the senate president to call Murphy’s bluff on the veto. He thinks Democrats might have enough votes to override Murphy’s veto, and said he was calling some Republican state senators to “feel out if they would support a budget veto override” without supporting any tax increase. That would have to be in a separate bill, the source said Christie was overheard saying.
“The brazenness of discussing all this on the phone in an open train is wild,” the source told the New Jersey Globe.
According to the source, Christie opined that Murphy misread the gubernatorial election; the new governor believes he had a mandate, but “in reality, after eight years of Republican rule and Trump in the White House, any Democrat would have won.”
Accompanied by his wife, Mary Pat, Christie is headed to Washington to take part in the State Leaders Summit, sponsored by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is also scheduled to speak, the source heard Christie say.
Also on the train, Amtrak 2155 that arrived in Washington a few minutes ago, is retired ABC news anchor Ted Koppel.
Christie did not immediately respond to a 2:48 email seeking comment. If he does respond, this story will be amended to include his comments.
Updated at 3:35 PM: At a press conference this afternoon, Sweeney said: “No. No I haven’t talked to him today. Listen, I don’t need the governor to help me with this.”
Updated at 4:21 PM: “It’s no surprise that Chris Christie supports this budget and has his fingerprints are all over it. The Legislature’s budget relies on the same failed, short-term strategies that got us into this mess in the first place, jeopardizing long-term investments in NJ TRANSIT, public schools, and property tax relief,” said Dan Bryan, a spokesman for Murphy.