New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) says he's unaware of criticism about his response to severe flooding in his state after Winter Storm Jonas.
"I don't even know what critics you're talking about," Christie said in response to a question from The Huffington Post's Sam Stein on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "There is no residual damage. There is no residual flooding damage. All the flooding receded yesterday morning."
"I have not heard any of that criticism, I have not seen any of that criticism, and I think you're just making it up," he added.
Prior to the storm, the New Jersey governor was in New Hampshire, an early primary state crucial to his presidential aspirations. On Saturday, the day after he returned to his state from the campaign trail, Christie held a press conference in which he downplayed the effects of the storm and said that New Jersey "dodged a bit of a bullet."
Indeed, central and northern sections of the state that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 fared much better during Winter Storm Jonas. But some residents of southern New Jersey weren't so lucky.
"I was in my waders in three feet of water and my friend is saying Gov. Christie is on TV saying it's not that bad," Maggie Day, whose home and store were damaged as a result of flooding, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Oh yeah? Gov. Christie should come down here and get in his fishing waders and live my life."
Another resident, Maui D'Antuono, suggested Christie was in a hurry to get back on the campaign trail.
"He couldn't claim a disaster because that would mean he'd have to stay here," D'Antuono said. "Once the insurance claims come in, that will really tell the tale of the damage. I know he's busy trying to be our vice president and all that, but the Shore really took a pounding."
After the storm, New Jersey shore towns were battered by flooding and surges of water up to 10 feet high. At one point, 94,000 power outages were reported. Residents of the island community of Stone Harbor feared the damage could be on par with the destruction from Superstorm Sandy.
Marissa Rigby, a resident of Wildwood, which was hit particularly hard by the storm, expressed shock at the governor's words.
"I don't know how he could possibly say that. I've been down here about five years and I've never seen it this bad," she told CBS.
During the day on Monday, Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, and state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin visited the areas hardest hit by flooding to assess the damage that Christie said did not exist.
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Monday evening, the governor again dismissed the criticism when a voter asked him why he was campaigning instead of dealing with the flooding in New Jersey.
"I don't know what you expect me to do," Christie said. "Want me to go down there with a mop?"
The story has been updated with additional comments from Gov. Christie.
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