April 6, 2011
(ABC News) — New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie took another shot at his state’s teachers today by describing their union leaders as “political thugs.”
In an interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, Christie offered no apology for his often tough talk that has left some teachers feeling bruised. He also talked about the presidential possibilities of both himself and his “friend” Donald Trump, and criticism by Jersey rock icon Bruce Springsteen.
While sitting in the school library at Lincoln School in Kearney, N.J., Christie told Sawyer that it’s essential for his state’s education system to change and he blames the teachers union for the harsh cuts his administration is making, that includes layoffs and larger classrooms.
“I believe the teachers in New Jersey in the main are wonderful public servants that care deeply. But their union, their union are a group of political thugs,” Christie said.
He said the New Jersey Education Association refused to negotiate on a salary freeze last year. “They should have taken the salary freeze. They didn’t and now, you know, we had to lay teachers off.”