POLITICS
01/26/2016 10:42 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2016

Pissed-Off New Jersey Mayors Give Chris Christie An Earful For Ignoring Flooding

"Didn't matter what happened, he made the decision this wasn't going to be a big storm," said Mayor Patrick Rosenello.

The mayor of a city in New Jersey unloaded against Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Tuesday for downplaying the effects of a major winter storm that caused severe flooding and prompted hundreds of evacuations across the state's coastal communities.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, a Republican, said he was disappointed after Christie called him "crazy" for saying Winter Storm Jonas was worse than Superstorm Sandy.

"I'm a big boy, he can call me names, I don't mind that," Rosenello said in an interview with a local Fox news station. "It's very disappointing, though. My children have met the man. I've met his wife and his children."

"It's just disappointing that a man, who is the governor of New Jersey, a man who wants to be president of the United States, would lower the discourse in a situation such as this," he added.

Residents of beach communities that were particularly hard hit by the storm have denounced Christie for downplaying the damage in order to return to New Hampshire, a key nominating state with a primary crucial to his presidential aspirations. On Monday, Christie denied seeing any storm-related damage in New Jersey, even as he sent his top deputy to assess the situation.

Rosenello accused Christie of disrespecting first responders and the residents of his community, who saw major damage to their homes and businesses amid swells of water up to 10 feet tall.

"My biggest concern is the complete and utter disrespect that he has shown to the first responders, the fireman and police," the mayor said. "For him to just completely disrespect the efforts they've put forth this past weekend is unconscionable. And lastly, the residents, the business owners, who today are tearing walls out of their houses, tearing up carpets; their lives have been completely disrupted. And his lack of compassion is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it, quite frankly, from an elected official."

"I've been a big supporter of Governor Christie; I supported his efforts after Hurricane Sandy, but I don't know what happened this time," Rosenello added. "It seems like he made a decision last Friday that this storm wasn't going to be a big storm. Didn't matter what happened, he made the decision this wasn't going to be a big storm. He wasn't going to focus on it, and he was focused on something else."

At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Monday evening, the governor brusquely dismissed criticism from a voter who asked him why he was campaigning instead of dealing with the flooding in his home state.

"I don't know what you expect me to do," Christie said. "Want me to go down there with a mop?"

Christopher J. Fox, the mayor of neighboring West Wildwood, New Jersey, called on Christie to apologize to the residents of his town -- which also saw major flooding -- during an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday.

“My town is in an uproar over those remarks, so an apology would be quite nice," Fox said in response to Christie's "mop" comment. "My job is to take care of my town. His job is to take care of the state of New Jersey. I'm still waiting."

On Tuesday afternoon, Rosenello, the mayor of North Wildwood, said that Christie had called to apologize for describing him as "crazy."

"He called to apologize to me for his comments and I accepted his apology," Rosenello said in a statement. "It was a genuine apology."

This story has been updated to include comment from West Wildwood Mayor Fox and Gov. Christie's apology to North Wildwood Mayor Rosenello.

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