In his second major jab at Donald Trump in 24 hours, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed the Republican front-runner for his apparent mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a muscular disability.
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"He shouldn't be making fun of people's disabilities. It's just not worthy of someone running for president of the United States,” Christie said today on CNN’s “New Day.”
Christie went on to say he wouldn't he hesitate to tell Trump to sit down and shut up if the context merited it.
"If Donald starts yelling and screaming at me in the middle of a speech, you could be sure that I'll say sit down and shut up," Christie said.
Asked about Trump during a visit to a drug addiction recovery center in Manchester Tuesday, Christie said the press should be ashamed for asking him about the GOP frontrunner with such regularity.
“You all quite frankly should be ashamed of yourselves, all you do is ask about Donald Trump every place I go,” Christie said.
“We're here talking about really serious important issues and whatever Donald Trump has said for the day today is quite frankly nothing I have any interest in responding to, I'm running for president,” Christie said, prompting response from the audience.
Trump has denied that he was mocking Kovaleski’s illness, insisting that he doesn’t know him and was unaware of his condition, and that he would never make fun of someone with a disability. Kovaleski has rebutted Trump’s claim that he doesn’t know who he is, saying he was on a first-name basis with the real estate mogul when he covered him for the New York Daily News in the 1980s.
The latest Christie remark comes after he publically admonished Trump Monday for his claim that thousands of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey, saying it simply didn’t happen. Christie had previously stopped short of shooting down Trump’s claim outright.
“It didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since,” Christie told reporters at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Monday.
Trump came under fire last week after appearing to imitate Kovaleski’s muscular disorder during a speech in South Carolina.
Kovaleski wrote a story for the Washington Post a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that referred to allegations of "tailgate-style parties on rooftops" in New Jersey after the World Trade Center towers fell.
Trump has pointed to Kovaleski's story as evidence that his claim that "thousands" of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the World Trade Center’s collapse. But Kovaleski has since said he never heard about "thousands or even hundreds" of people celebrating and that he doesn’t recall the allegations of isolated celebrations ever being confirmed.
Trump has since accused Kovaleski of trying to retract his story and continues to insist that he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks on TV in New Jersey.