Former Gov. Christie defends debate remark about first lady Biden and teacher unions after criticism from AOC and others

 September 30, 2023

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, during the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday, took a shot at President and first lady Joe and Jill Biden over their close connection to teacher unions that sparked controversy as some found his phrasing to be crude and objectionable.

Among Christie's critics was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who lambasted the former governor and all Republicans by extension over his "disgusting" and "misogynistic" swipe at the first lady, according to The Washington Times.

Christie, for what it is worth, stood by his earlier remarks when challenged the next day and brushed off the critique from the "hypocrite" New York congresswoman as being "the highlight of my day so far."

Christie said Biden is "sleeping with a member of the teachers' unions"

During Wednesday night's debate, according to The Hill, former Gov. Christie railed against how teacher unions had become too powerful and were "absolutely strangling" the nation's public school systems.

"And when you have the president of the United States sleeping with a member of the teachers' unions, there is no chance that you can take the stranglehold away from the teachers union every day," Christie said in reference to the first lady, who has been a teacher for three decades and is a member of the National Education Association.

He added, "They have an advocate inside the White House every day for the worst of their teachers, not for their students to be the best they can be."

Christie attacked over remark about first lady

Some people viewed Christie's remark as something of a joke, including fellow GOP candidate former Vice President Mike Pence, who later humorously chimed in at the debate and said, "My wife isn’t a member of the teachers union, but I’ve got to admit, I’ve been sleeping with a teacher for 38 years. Full disclosure."

Not everybody found the former governor's remarks to be funny, however, and Newsweek reported on the immediate "outrage" and pushback against him on social media from defenders of the first lady who said his comments were "disrespectful" and "sexist," among other complaints.

That includes Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who angrily tweeted, "It’s disgusting, misogynistic, and if Republicans want to continue pissing off an entire nation of women, please be my guest. We’ll see you at the ballot box."

Christie doubles down amid criticism

Gov. Christie, however, appeared to be completely unphased by the criticism he had received from Ocasio-Cortez and others when he appeared on CNN for an early morning interview on Thursday and essentially doubled down on what he had said during the debate the night before when questioned about his choice of wording.

He asserted that Jill Biden is "a radical advocate for the worst in the teachers union" in terms of policies that are harmful to children, but co-host Poppy Harlow reiterated her question about the way that Christie had chosen to phrase his particular critique of the intimate relationship between President Biden and the teachers' unions by way of his union member wife.

"But that's the truth, isn't it?" Christie fired back as Harlow proceeded to highlight what Ocasio-Cortez had said, to which Christie replied, "I am standing by the wording.

"And let me tell you, being called disgusting by a hypocrite like Ocasio-Cortez is probably the highlight of my day so far," he joked as he noted the pre-dawn timing on the West Coast of the early morning interview just hours after the previous night's debate.

"Let her accuse me of whatever she wants," he added. "When you look at the kind of hypocrite that she is, the kind of things that she does and lives her life as, as opposed to what comes out of her mouth. Please, I’d be happy to be accused of anything by AOC."

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