Chris Christie takes state helicopter to son’s baseball game

Holly Bailey

New Jersey governor Chris Christie--who has made government reform a major talking point of his administration--is coming under fire for his decision to travel in a state-owned helicopter to his son's high school baseball game Monday.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Christie landed in the state's $12.5 million helicopter just before the game began, buzzing over the trees in left field and distracting spectators. The GOP governor then got into a black sedan with tinted windows, which drove him about 100 yards to the baseball diamond.

Flanked by bodyguards, Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, watched the game from the stands until they left during the 5th inning. The two got back into the car and rode back to the helicopter. According to the Star-Ledger, the game was stopped for a "couple of minutes" while the helicopter took off.

Christie's oldest son, Andrew, was playing the position of catcher in the game, which was held at a high school in Montvale, N.J.--about 80 miles away from Trenton, where the state capitol is. But it's unclear exactly where Christie was coming from because his office won't say.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak defended his boss's use of the helicopter, insisting Christie has only flown in it in "limited" instances when his schedule demands.

But as the paper notes, Christie had no major events on his schedule yesterday, aside from his meeting with several Iowa activists who had dinner with the governor in hopes of convincing him to run for president. That meeting was held in Princeton, about 70 miles away from the baseball game.

The trip prompted criticism from Christie's political rivals, who called for him to reimburse the state for the trip.

"Gov. Christie obviously doesn't include himself in his hollow call for shared sacrifice," state Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, a Democrat, told AP. "Gov. Christie must learn that taxpayers cannot afford his helicopter joyrides."

(Photo of Christie: Mel Evans/AP)

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