Gov. Chris Christie reignited his war with New Jersey teachers during a CNN interview in which he said that the national teachers union deserves a punch in the face.

Governor Chris Christie capaigns for president in Davenport, Iowa.
Governor Chris Christie capaigns for president in Davenport, Iowa (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

"State of the Union" host Jake Tapper asked Christie "who deserves a punch in the face" nationally, as he recalled a statement Christie made during his first term about handling bullies.

"You can sidle up to them or you can punch them in the face. I like to punch them in the face," Tapper recalled the governor saying.  Christie responded with "the national teacher's union" for their endorsement of Democrat Hillary Clinton "16 or 17 months before the election."

Without naming the specific union, Christie continued that the union is "not for the education of our children. They're for greater membership,  greater benefits, greater pay for their members and they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I've been saying that since 2009, I've got the scars to show it and I'll never stop saying it because they don't change their stripes."

New Jersey Education Association President Wendel Steinhauer responded to Christie's comments in a statement by calling for Christie's immediate resignation because he has "no credibility as a leader and is in an embarrassment to New Jersey."

Steinhauer, who toned down the NJEA's rhetoric against Christie when he became president in 2013, said that the governor's "instinct is always to threaten, bully and intimidate instead of build consensus and show true leadership" and called his behavior "immature and inappropriate."

Steinhauer had been working with Christie's administration on a compromise regarding pension payments. He abruptly backed out of a commission established by Christie. The commission's purpose was to join other public unions in calling for alternate ways to fund pensions and benefits.

“It became obvious the commission was going to make recommendations to which we could not agree,” Steinhauer said. “Forcing employees to pay to repair their pensions with even deeper cuts in their health benefits; expanding the current statutory premium costs for employees; and undermining their collective bargaining rights.”


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