GOP lawmaker: CPAC snub of Christie shows 'narrow-minded bigotry'

The Conservative Political Action Conference's decision not to invite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) shows "a narrow-minded bigotry" from the GOP, a furious Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told The Hill on Thursday.

"If Republicans had any brains they'd stay away from CPAC," King said. "The thought that he's being penalized because he sought to get the aid for Sandy relief is disgraceful regional bias. To hold that out against him shows a narrow-minded bigotry from the party."

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Christie was not invited to the high-profile Republican gathering this year because he criticized GOP leaders for inaction on a bill funding Hurricane Sandy relief. King, whose Long Island district was hit hard by the storm, has also ripped his party on the issue.

King warned that CPAC's decision is "very dangerous" for the Republican Party because it makes it "look like a narrow regional party."

"That the conservative movement would reject Christie this way is worrisome," he said. "Unfortunately CPAC is defined as a part of the presidential campaign, for whatever reason. That's nonsense. CPAC is a small faction of the party, it's not representative of the party, and it's insanity to not invite Chris Christie, who's the most popular governor of the country."

The mid-March gathering of top conservatives will feature many top presidential aspirants, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

The Long Island congressman also said any presidential aspirant who voted against the Sandy relief aid package because of "phony arguments about pork" shouldn't be president. That list includes Rubio, Ryan and Paul, though Rubio supported a bill that appropriated a smaller amount of money for Sandy relief.

"That should disqualify anybody for president," King said. "I don't care who they are, anyone who voted against it should not get money from the people of New York ... these guys want to run for president by screwing New York."

This isn't the first time King has excoriated his own party on Sandy relief. In early January he suggested he might not vote for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to keep his job because of his handling of the bill, and said New York Republicans shouldn't donate to the party because of it.

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