In a heated argument over the plight of the public school system in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie used the term "boy", according to The Huffington Post on March 15. The argument took place at a town hall meeting at an African-American church in Patterson, New Jersey.
Christie, who is at the center of controversy over a horrendous traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge in September that was caused by members of his administration, is not in a position politically to sustain any additional negative attention. Currently Christie former aide Bridget Kelly is under investigation for sending an email calling for there to be a traffic jam in Fort Lee, Indiana. Kelly allegedly was upset with Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not supporting Chrisite's reelection bid and was hoping to use the traffic jam as retribution against Lee.
Sources have indicated that they do not believe that Christie intended to make a racial comment when he said the word "boy" when addressing the man's question. One such source is Kenneth Clayton, who serves as the pastor of St. Luke Baptist Church where the town hall meeting took place. Clayton stated:
"I've watched it at least 10 times already. I don't think it is what people have taken it to be. I think he used the word 'boy' to catch his breath. Like, 'Oh boy.'"
Although Clayton gives Christie a pass on the usage of the word "boy," he is not thrilled over the way that Christie referred to the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly in New Jersey, Sheila Oliver, who is African-American. In Christie's remarks, which also were made at the same town hall meeting, he only referred to Oliver as "female" and "African-American" instead of by name. Clayton stated:
"The words that the governor chose to use in speaking of Oliver, while not even respecting her enough to call her by name, defy his earlier assertion that political leaders, himself included, need to learn to respect all views and work together."
If recent events are any gauge of reality, it would appear that Christie's administration is not working together as a team. Christie himself claims that he did not know anything about the lane closures of the George Washington Bridge because he was not informed of such by members of his staff. His latest reference to Oliver by gender and race rather than by name further reinforces the notion that Christie himself has some issues with respect to being a team player. It is unknown how much of a role this apparent disconnect would have in a potential Christie bid for the White House in 2016. If nothing else, such a bid most likely would be a real uphill battle.