New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says he understands why his constituents might be “a little miffed” by his continued absences from the state while running a nationwide presidential campaign.
“So I’ve told them the truth, and if they’re a little miffed about it now, I completely understand that. It’s understandable, but I’m working hard to become the next president of the United States,” he added.
Host Chris Wallace pointed to data that show Christie was absent from his state for 200 days in 2015. But the governor maintained that his truancy is more defensible than that of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), because a governor is always “on the job.”
“And this is the difference between being a governor and being a senator. You know, I’m on the job every day. Sen. Rubio just hasn’t showed up to vote,” he said.
“But anybody who’s been a governor – and I understand those who haven’t been don’t understand this – I am on the job every day no matter where I am. It’s never a day off, and I’m always working to help the people of New Jersey and do my job.”
Later in the day, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had to defend himself from the opposite charge: that he has not spent enough time on the campaign trail.
“You haven’t been to Iowa since I believe the 12th, New Hampshire before that. I have to ask senator, what’s going on? Two weeks off the campaign trail? Are you still fully running?” Chuck Todd asked the senator on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Paul, who has also been critical of Rubio for missing key votes in the Senate, said he has a duty to show up for work.
“I have a job as senator,” Paul responded. “I’m one of the few candidates who show up to vote. Both [Sen. Ted] Cruz and Rubio are missing the vast majority of their votes.”
“I feel I have an obligation to the taxpayer that pays my salary,” he added.