Landing another shot in his escalating feud with The New York Times, Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie denounced the paper’s front-page editorial this weekend that called for stricter gun control laws in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting.
“It’s typical liberal claptrap from The New York Times,” Christie told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson in an interview set to air Sunday. “The fact is that what we need to be focused on here are two issues: Taking criminals who commit crimes with handguns and putting them in jail. And we have to work on our mental health system in this country to give doctors and caregivers greater latitude to involuntarily commit folks who have mental health issues and who don’t want to take their medication and help themselves.”
The interview took place after The New York Times published a scathing rebuke of America’s gun culture – its first front-page editorial in nearly a century. The editorial pulled no punches, calling it “a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.”
A spokesperson for The New York Times did not immediately respond to MSNBC’s request for comment on Christie’s criticism.
Wednesday’s shooting in San Bernardino, California, involved two assault rifles and two semi-automatic handguns. Law enforcement officials are still trying to determine an exact motive and whether it was tied to international terrorism.
In the “Face the Nation” interview, Christie also criticized President Obama and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for what he believed to be a premature call for gun control after Wednesday’s massacre.
“Remember, the president and the secretary, before they even knew what was going on here, ran out on the first moments after this attack and said this was a gun control issue,” Christie said. “I don’t know what gun control laws, John, are going to stop terrorists from attacking us. But this is the typical liberal approach to things … They wanted to try to turn this awful tragedy into an excuse to have greater gun control.”
It’s not the first time Christie has expressed disdain for the newspaper. The Times has never endorsed him for governor, and in October it ran an editorial calling on Christie to drop out of the presidential race. Christie’s campaign denounced that editorial, too, saying The New York Times had shown its “true liberal bias.”
In a recent interview with MSNBC, meanwhile, Mary Pat Christie revealed how she handles negative criticism of her husband. “The first mistake is I don’t open The New York Times,” she said.