Mrs. Gov. Christie to Hurricane Sandy Victims: 'No Money For You But At Least We Got a Re-Tweet!'
Photo Credit: AFP
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The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund — run by Mary Pat Christie, the wife of NJ Governor Chris Christie — has raised $32 million in donations to aid NJ residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
133 days after that tragic disaster, Mrs. Christie’s relief fund has contributed exactly zero dollars to help NJ victims.
When pressed Monday during a press conference on why the effort has so far refused to spend any money to aid and assist the thousands of displaced residents, Governor Christie denied responsibility:
It’s her responsibility as chair of the fund. I certainly haven’t asked for any reports about pace of distribution of funding because I don’t really get involved in that day-to-day part of it.
When a local paper asked the governor’s wife the same question, she too tried to pass the buck:
[My husband] called me. It was really his idea. I really have to give my husband credit for coming up with the idea.
Mary Pat later giddily noted, during that same interview, that Justin Bieber re-tweeted a message from the relief fund. The pop star has over 35 million followers on Twitter, and it gained Mary Pat’s relief page significant traffic, which, one might imagine, brought in a lot of contributions.
In January of this year, in the early wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Christie furiously condemned House Speaker Boehner and other Republican lawmakers for failing to approve disaster relief funds for victims.
He harped in print and on television that Washington politicians “will say whatever they have to say to get through the day,” and proclaimed that he had “actual responsibilities… unlike people in Congress.”
That virulent criticism seems now to have vanished.
To note: When Mary Pat secured endorsement for the relief effort in its initial days on Oprah’s website, the fund was promoted as a way of “helping New Jerseyans return as close to normalcy as quickly as possible.”
Other similar relief efforts have already spent tens of millions to assist the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross’s Robin Hood Foundation, for instance, quickly turned around the almost $70 million it received from the 12-12-12 charity concert (during which Christie’s relief fund got a free advertisement sponsored by DirectTV), and about 40 percent of that money is now heading to New Jersey victims specifically.
Mary Pat conceded that the Robin Hood Foundation “know[s] how to do this” and that “admittedly” her own fund is still “learning how.”
Understandably, residents of New Jersey want answers.
“When my wife and I were moved to give $500 to the fund, it was out of compassion and efforts to do something for the devastated families and small businesses,” a Little Silver resident told the local press. “To read this spin control coming from Mrs. Christie when people are still suffering is a disgrace,” he added.
While both the Governor and his wife have tried to deflect such criticism by saying that merely “they’re being careful with people’s money,” it does not change the reality that thousands of New Jersey families continue to struggle ever day amid the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
The questions that residents of New Jersey have for their governor are many:
Where is the anger and outrage he expressed at Boehner and Republican lawmakers over stalling vital relief efforts just months ago?
Who is taking responsibility for the fund’s lack of aid and relief?
When will the residents of NJ finally get what their governor and his wife promised them?