New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants a former White House doctor who is criticizing his weight to keep a lid on it.
The at-times hot-headed Republican said unless the doctor, Connie Mariano, gives him a physical exam and knows the ins and outs about his family history “she should shut up.”
Mariano, who served nearly a decade as a doctor in the White House medical unit, told CNN on Wednesday that Christie’s weight could become an issue if he decides to run for president in 2016. She said she was worried the popular governor may have a stroke or heart attack.
“It’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before running for office,” said Mariano.
Christie was not pleased, calling Mariano “another hack that just wants five minutes on TV.”
“I find it fascinating that a doctor in Arizona who has never met me, never examined me, never reviewed my medical history or records, knows nothing about my family history, could make a diagnosis from 2,400 miles away,” he told reporters, adding his children saw what she had to say.
Christie’s remarks come the same week as the lawmaker poked fun of his size on the Late Show with David Letterman. The GOPer interrupted the comedian on the show to eat a donut and joked “I’m basically the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen in your life.”
In December, the 50-year-old acknowledged to ABC News’ Barbara Walters that he was “more than a little” overweight but it was “ridiculous” to say it would affect his performance.
“I think people have watched me for a number of weeks during Hurricane Sandy doing 18-hour days, and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job, so I don’t really think that would be a problem,” said the governor.
Following Christie’s criticism, Mariano told CNN that the she and Christie had since talked on the phone and that he was less-than-gracious.
“You don’t have to be a doctor to look at him and see that he has a problem with weight,” she said.
Susan Milligan of U.S. News and Word Report told Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish that the doctor’s comments were “out of line.”
“She hasn’t examined him,” she said on Thursday, adding it shows “people think that overweight people are somehow undisciplined and lazy.” Milligan argued that Christie’s quick and dedicated response to Hurricane Sandy showed that “it’s not the case.”
Smerconish called Christie’s overweight figure an attribute. He said it shows Christie is “the every man. He is not the blow-dried politican.”