Chris Christie says President Biden fumbled Nashville shooting response with ice cream joke
WASHINGTON – For someone who says he doesn't know if he's running in 2024, Chris Christie certainly sounds like a candidate, taking aim this week at political rivals on both sides of the aisle.
The former New Jersey governor blasted Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Mike Pence during a town hall Monday evening, and earlier in the day he slammed President Joe Biden for his response to the Nashville school shooting.
Christie took issue with Biden making small talk about ice cream and introducing himself as "Dr. Jill Biden's husband" just before delivering a formal response to the attack that killed three, 9-year-old students and three staff members.
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What did President Joe Biden say?
"My name is Joe Biden. I'm Dr. Jill Biden's husband. I eat Jeni's ice cream – chocolate chip," Biden quipped Monday afternoon before his speech about the "sick" and "heartbreaking" shooting.
The crowd in the East Room of the White House laughed, and Biden doubled down.
"I came down because I heard there was chocolate chip ice cream. By the way, I have a whole refrigerator full upstairs," he said to more laughter. "You think I'm kidding? I'm not."
When Biden began his speech about Nashville, the president described it as a family's "worst nightmare" and said "we have to stop gun violence."
"It's ripping our communities apart," he said.
He called on Congress to pass his assault weapons ban.
'A family's worst nightmare': Biden reacts to Nashville shooting, urges assault weapons ban
What did Chris Christie say about Biden?
Christie picked apart Biden's tone and quips about ice cream before delivering his formal response on the school attack – the nation's 129th mass shooting this year.
"To say that he misunderstood the moment would be an understatement," Christie said on Fox News Monday. "The president is watching, you'd hope before he comes down there, the awful scenes from the shooting and the reactions of family members and friends of people in that school. And to be coming down, joking about the fact that he's Jill Biden's husband and looking for chocolate chip ice cream is hardly the way to start it."
There's no room for joking in the midst of a tragedy like the one that killed three children and three staff members – "certainly not from the president of the United States," Christie said.
He also accused Biden of "playing politics" by calling on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban while people are still grieving.
Candy Woodall is a Congress reporter for USA TODAY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nashville shooting: Chris Christie slams Biden for joke after attack