NJ lawmakers call on Christie to apologize for ‘take the bat out’ comment to reporters about Weinberg

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: More than 50 Democratic state legislators today formally called on Gov. Christie in a signed letter to apologize to state Sen. Loretta Weinberg for urging reporters to “take the bat out” against the 76-year-old legislator from of Bergen County.

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Gov. Christie, state Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle

The 54 signees include local Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Connie Wagner. Their demand: that the Republican governor formally and publicly apologize to Weinberg and retract what he said about her during an April 13 talk with the media.

Weinberg, who commands great respect from her peers in Trenton, has worked to protect battered women and victims of abuse.

“This overwhelming show of support from our colleagues in the Legislature demonstrates that the governor’s comments are unacceptable, not only toward women but to every New Jerseyan of good will who understands threatening language is wrong,” Vainieri Huttle said. “The governor’s offensive and disturbing language has no place in decent society and we are asking him to recognize that and elevate the political tone in our state.”

Weinberg frequently has criticized officials who collect pensions and salaries at the same time. She was particularly incensed that Christie hadn’t criticized Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo Jr. for double-dipping.

Christie, in turn, said Weinberg deserved an “hypocrisy award” because she also collects a $40,000-a-year state pension while continuing to receive her annual $43,000 salary as a legislator. And although the governor eventually went after DiVincenzo, he also took aim at Weinberg.

“I mean, can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?” he said two weeks ago.

“The governor’s disturbing comment sets the worst example for everyone, particularly when it comes to respect toward women,” Wagner said today.

“Clearly a great deal of our colleagues feel the same way,” said Wagner (D-Bergen),” she said. “Together we are asking the Governor to set an example and change the discourse in our state.  No one, no matter their role, should be advocating violence against a 76-year-old woman, or anyone for that matter.”

No word yet from the governor’s office. But Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said after the first complaints were publicly raised that people clearly knew the governor meant that the media was being too soft on Weinberg’s “hypocrisy.”

Weinberg ran for lieutenant governor on Gov. Jon Corzine’s ticket in 2009. They lost to Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

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