Former top Christie aide isn’t just #NeverTrump — she’s voting for Hillary!
A former top aide to Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that she would be voting for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, who her former boss is supporting.
Maria Comella, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff for communications, who was his longest serving senior advisor before she left the administration in March to start her own consulting firm, said her party is “at a moment where silence isn't an option.”
"We have to stop thinking that winning at any cost is more important than governing principles,” Comella said in an email interview with CNN. “It should be the job of the Republican Party's nominee to set a tone worthy of being the leader of the free world and not give into our worst instincts. I don't care if it's good politics or not."
Comella worked on Christie’s presidential campaign, which the governor aborted before endorsing his real estate mogul friend. She is credited with helping to craft his image as a no-nonsense straight-talker.
Comella told CNN that she still believes Christie “was the best person to be the nominee and unfortunately, that didn't happen.”
“My decision is my own and I know from working with the Governor that he has the utmost respect for people expressing their own opinions."
"I'm voting for Hillary Clinton in November and I'm voting for her because I don't believe it's enough to say you aren't for Donald Trump,” she added.
This wouldn't be the first time someone associated with Christie has been at odds with him over his Trump endorsement. Meg Whitman, the Hewlett-Packard executive who backed his presidential race, back in February described the endorsement as an "astonishing display of political opportunism." On Tuesday, she also endorsed Clinton.
Former Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman in June said Christie was posturing for a position in a potential Trump presidential cabinet. Whitman said Christie "knows better" after he defended Trump's comments questioning a federal judge's integrity because of his Mexican descent.
News of the Comella interview was released after a news conference by Christie in Trenton, where he reacted to an ongoing controversy involving Trump’s comments about the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier who was killed in Iraq.
The parents appeared last month at the Democratic National Convention, where Capt. Humayun Khan’s father blasted Trump’s proposals, saying he had "sacrificed nothing."
Trump faced backlash from the public and elected officials, including top Republicans in Congress, after he insinuated that Khan’s mother was not allowed by her husband to speak at the convention because of their faith. He also compared himself to the Khans by saying he had “made a lot of sacrifices” by creating jobs and constructing buildings.
“The Khans have a right to say whatever it is they want regarding the loss of their son and for all the Gold Star families out there they have put forward a sacrifice that I cannot fathom as a parent,” Christie said in response to a reporter's question. “It’s just inappropriate for us in this context to be criticizing them, and I’m not going to participate.”
Also on Tuesday, a three-term Republican congressman from New York, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, became the first GOP official on Capitol Hill to cross party aisles and endorse Clinton for president.
Hanna cited the Khan controversy as a reason for his decision.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.