By Andrew Garda
If Gov. Chris Christie wanted ratings for his on-air audition to replace WFAN’s Mike Francesa, insulting callers from Montclair might have done the trick.
That’s exactly how things went down on Monday afternoon when several callers from the town ripped into the outgoing politician and it’s certainly provoked reaction from the town.
Most notable was the call from “Mike from Montclair,” known around town as Mike Goldstein. In an exchange that went viral on Twitter and media outlets nationally, Goldstein directed an angry comment to Christie referencing the governor’s presence at a beach that had been closed to the public during last week’s state government shutdown.
“Governor, next time you want to sit on a beach that is closed to the entire world except you, put your fat a– in a car and go to one that’s open to all your constituents, not just you and yours,” Goldstein said.
Christie responded by calling Goldstein a “bum” and saying he loved getting calls from “communists in Montclair.”
— Sports Funhouse (@SportsFunhouse) July 10, 2017
The governor’s response has largely been decried on town social media.
While some Montclairians took issue with Goldstein’s reference to Christie’s weight, the vast majority of the town’s social media response was positive.
There has even been a petition created on Change.org to encourage Mayor Robert D. Jackson and other town officials to have the governor head to Montclair for a “Town Hall” style meeting.
“We would like to meet Chris Christie face to face,” the petition states, “to educate him about the stereotypes he perpetuated on the air as well as hold him accountable for his last eight years in office.”
There was also a bit of snark, as seen by the creation of two T-shirt designs referencing the “communist” comment. One can be found at an online store called MontclairStore.com, while the other was created by resident Michael Bloom.
Bloom’s shirt is red — naturally — and sells for $10 with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. He says his dad has been calling him a communist “for 30 years.”
“Anyone who wants to help the less fortunate is a communist,” he said via a Facebook message. “God forbid people who need help get any.”
Like some others, he didn’t love Goldstein going after Christie’s weight.
“There are so many valid arguments against Christie (Corrupt, self-serving, etc.) that stooping to attacks on his physical stature don’t elevate the conversation. Christie has thick skin, so the only person that hurts is all the heavier people listening.”
Bloom said the idea behind the shirt was simple: it seemed like a fun thing to own and, to him, if caring about the less fortunate makes someone a communist, “then I am a commie.”
At least one official also believes that Christie owes Montclair an apology.
At-Large Councilmember Bob Russo said in an email to a constituent, Mayor Jackson and the council that he will be protesting the governor’s comments directly to his staff. The email further said that Russo was not surprised at Christie’s attitude.
“Last year we saw the Governor in Ocean Grove and he told me I lived in ‘the people’s republic of Montclair,’” the email read. “I am not surprised and will be protesting his comments directly to the Governor’s staff.”
Following his spat with Goldstein, Christie noted that he lost Montclair in the 2013 gubernatorial election, an election in which he received more than 60 percent of the vote statewide.