BELMAR, N.J. (PIX11/AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told a heckler critical of his handling of Hurricane Sandy recovery to "sit down and shut up" on the second anniversary of the devastating storm.
Jim Keady stood up during Christie's speech Wednesday in Belmar. Multiple times he yelled out to Christie about the pace of storm recovery.
"All I was doing was stating the facts" about what New Jersey families are still struggling with in the aftermath of the storm, Keady told PIX11 News.
A former Asbury Park congressman, Keady said Christie's administration is sitting on 80 percent of the $1.1 billion in federal aid money meant for storm victims, and 5,000 residents are still unable to return home.
But Christie pushed back against Keady's reproach.
"You all know me, so if we're going to get into a debate today it's going to get very interesting and very fun," Christie said. "I'd be more than happy to have a debate with you any time you like, guy, because somebody like you doesn't know a damn thing about what you're talking about."
After trying to brush off the man, Christie yelled back, saying Keady didn't know what he was talking about and was "showing off" for the news cameras.
"I've been here when the cameras aren't here, buddy, and done the work," the governor said.
The protester said that for a month after the storm hit, he volunteered in his hometown of Belmar as part of the clean-up effort.
When Keady continued, Christie said he would debate him at a later time then told him: "Sit down and shut up."
Keady founded a group called Finish The Job, which is critical of the pace of rebuilding assistance in New Jersey.
Christie defended the recovery but admitted that two years after the deadly storm swept through the region, there are still residents who need help.