» Christie: Cruz played pol­i­tics in vote against bill after Sandy.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Jonathan Tilove jtilove@statesman.com Con­tact Jonathan Tilove at 512-445-3572.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wed­nes­day that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was play­ing pol­i­tics with peo­ple’s lives when he voted in 2013 against a fed­eral dis­as­ter re­lief bill for Su­per­storm Sandy. Christie said Cruz should apol­o­gize now that Texas will need the same kind of help in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

“You know, he should just stand up now and say, ‘You know what? I was wrong,’ ” Christie said on MSNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe.”

“It was the wrong thing to do, and now I hope the peo­ple of New Jersey and New York are will­ing to let by­gones be by­gones and vote for re­lief for peo­ple in Texas,” Christie said.

Cruz, in an in­ter­view Mon­day with Katy Tur on MSNBC, said that he “en­thu­si­as­ti­cally and em­phat­i­cally sup­ported hur­ri­cane re­lief for Hur­ri­cane Sandy.”

“The prob­lem with that par­tic­u­lar bill is that it be­came a $50 bil­lion bill that was filled with un­re­lated pork,” Cruz said.

Cruz, speak­ing from the Ge­orge R. Brown Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in his home­town of Hous­ton, where he vis­ited flood vic­tims, said, “Two-thirds of that bill had noth­ing to do with Sandy. And what I said then and still be­lieve now is that it’s not right for politi­cians to ex­ploit a dis­as­ter, when peo­ple are hurt­ing, to pay for their po­lit­i­cal wish list.”

After play­ing that clip on “Morn­ing Joe,” host Joe Scar­bor­ough asked Christie about it. “He talked about play­ing pol­i­tics. That’s what he did with peo­ple’s lives in 2012 and 2013,” Christie said of Cruz. “He was play­ing pol­i­tics just to try to make him­self look like the most con­ser­va­tive guy in town.”

Of Cruz’s claim that twothirds of the money in the re­lief bill “had noth­ing to do with Sandy,” Christie cited a Wash­ing­ton Post fact check this week that gave Cruz “three Pinoc­chios” for that as­ser­tion, con­clud­ing: “Cruz is re­peat­ing a num­ber of myths about the fund­ing for Sandy dis­as­ter re­lief. The vast ma­jor­ity of the spend­ing was for Hur­ri­cane Sandy, in­clud­ing ele­ments (such as Smith­so­nian re­pairs) that some law­mak­ers in­cor­rectly be­lieved were un­re­lated to the storm.”

Poli­tiFact Wed­nes­day also rated the Cruz claim as “mostly false.”

“The fact of the mat­ter is that there was a Se­nate ver­sion of a bill that never passed with a lot more spend­ing,” Christie said. “It got stripped out and al­most all of the spend­ing in the $50 bil­lion bill was for New York and New Jersey and some of the other ar­eas that got af­fected by Sandy for hur­ri­cane re­lief.”

Cruz called into “Fox & Friends” later in the morn­ing and, when asked to re­spond to Christie’s claims, said, “I’m sorry that there are politi­cians who seem re­ally des­per­ate to get their names in the news and are say­ing what­ever they need to do that.”

Christie and Cruz were ri­vals for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion in 2016, but Don­ald Trump was the ul­ti­mate vic­tor.

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