TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie phoned home Wednesday to share his impressions of his trade mission to the Middle East on a conference call with reporters.
The first question to the governor, however, was not about his trip to Israel but rather a controversial New York Post headline, titled “The Whale At The Wall: Christie Weighs In At Israel Holy Site.”
The story about Christie’s visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, which ran Tuesday, was littered with innuendos and puns about the governor’s weight.
“It’s really just a distraction and it’s unfortunate that the Post decided that it wanted to go there,” Christie said. “In the end, I’ve told people many times, that kind of stuff really doesn’t bother me. If that’s the way they like to sell newspapers it’s up to them.”
The headline has drawn criticism from other leaders including Sen. Richard Codey.
Though Codey is a frequent rival of Christie, even he believes the Post went too far, calling the story both disrespectful to the governor and Israel.
“I’m not a fan of the governor’s but this is way, way over the top,” Sen. Richard Codey told 1010 WINS. “You’ve got to respect the office and the holy site as well.”
“The governor is paying his respects at one of the holiest places on Earth and you would hope that an article covering that moment should’ve been written with decency and respect,” he added.
Christie arrived in Israel on Monday with his family for his first official trip abroad as governor of New Jersey. He has visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
Christie said he’s brought a little Jersey to Jerusalem this week in hopes of strengthening their bond and expanding commercial ties.
Some have speculated the governor’s trip is for future political gain for a possible 2016 presidential run. Christie however continues to shoot down the idea.
“This trip is not about anything other than us wanting to have a broader and deeper relationship with Israel in our government from both an economic perspective and from a cultural and security perspective,” Christie said.
Later this week, he will travel to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II before returning home Sunday.