(CN) – Six New Jersey newspapers called Wednesday for Gov. Chris Christie to resign on the heels of his surprise endorsement of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
In a joint editorial published this morning, the newspapers called Christie “an embarrassment” and an “utter disgrace,” and said they were “fed up” with his “arrogance,” “opportunism,” “hypocrisy,” and “his long neglect of the state to pursue his own selfish agenda.”
All owned by Gannett, the papers said they are disgusted by the governor’s endorsement of Trump after he spent months trashing the billionaire real estate developer, calling him “unqualified by temperament and experience to be president.”
“It’s time for Christie to do his long-neglected constituents a favor and resign as governor. If he refuses, citizens should initiative a recall effort,” the papers said, even providing online readers with a link to the 43-page recall packet published by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The final straw for the newspapers was news conference Christie held on Monday, ostensibly to announce his nomination of Superior Court Judge David Bauman to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.
During the news conference, the governor repeatedly refused to answer questions about Trump or his endorsement, saying he was willing only to discuss the judicial nomination.
The papers, which include the Asbury Park Press, the Courier Post of Cherry Hill and the Daily Record of Morristown, complained that press conferences in which reporters have had an opportunity to question Christie on any subject “have been a rarity since the George Washington Bridge fiasco more than two years ago.”
“Christie fails to acknowledge the role the Fourth Estate plays in a healthy democracy,” the newspapers said. “Reporters have an obligation to ask questions on behalf of the public; government officials have an obligation to answer them.”
The editorials in New Jersey came two days after the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader ran a front-page editorial in print and online, saying he made a huge mistake endorsing Christie prior to the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
“Boy, we were wrong,” wrote Joseph W. McQuaid in a five-paragraph mea culpa.
McQuaid told his readers the newspaper endorsed Christie because it believed he had the skills and experience the presidency needs, and was also the candidate with “the best chance to take on and face down Donald Trump.”
“Watching Christie kiss the Donald’s ring this weekend and make excuses for the man Christie himself had said was unfit for the presidency demonstrated how wrong we were,” McQuaid wrote.
As it turned out, Christie did miserably in the New Hampshire primary even with the newspaper’s support, coming in sixth in a race won by Trump, and coming out of the contest without a single delegate.
Christie ended his campaign on Feb 10., the day after his drubbing in New Hampshire, by declaring in a Facebook post that he was leaving the race “without an ounce of regret.”
McQuaid said the voters “apparently knew better than we.”
“Most rejected Christie but divided their votes among several others, leaving Trump to claim victory,” the publisher said. “And now, despite specifically telling us that he would never endorse him, Christie is backing Trump.”
Some, however, view the Union Leader’s regrets with a jaundiced eye.
Andrew Smith, an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire and director of the UNH Survey Center, says most people in the state aren’t paying much attention to the editorial.
“The circus has already left town,” Smith said. “And the Union Leader has not had a very good track record in recent elections after all, they endorsed [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich in 2012.”
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