Chris Christie and Cory Booker have long had an alliance of political convenience—perhaps best enshrined in a 2012 video that depicted Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, desperately looking for crises to solve only to find Booker, then the Democratic mayor of Newark, is already on the case.
But with Christie tacking to the right in his presidential campaign, Booker, now a New Jersey Senator, says the “bromance” isn’t all it’s made up to be.
“I think the bromance aspect gets a lot more attention and the real substantive and often fierce disagreements don’t,” Booker told TIME this week in an interview about his new book, United. “He and I disagree on policy issues across the board. I’ve been frustrated by him, angered by steps he’s taken.
“You could talk about everything from cutting Planned Parenthood or reducing the earned income tax credit, all the way to gestation crates,” Booker said, citing policies Christie supported in New Jersey that were seen by his critics as more geared toward courting conservative voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Christie’s veto of the bill that would have banned the use of pig gestation crates in New Jersey earned particular ire—and praise from the governor of Iowa, one of the the biggest pork-producing states in the country—given that the measure had widespread support in the state legislature
Christie’s campaign didn’t comment.
But Booker defended Christie against criticism of his response to last week’s East Coast snowstorm. Christie caught flack for downplaying the damage and for originally not planning to leave the campaign trail in New Hampshire during the storm.
“I talked to the governor during this storm,” Booker said. “I talked to the leaders in his administration. We are working seamlessly together. I have no barbs to throw, especially when we’re still in the midst of cleaning up. … I try never to play into the politics of it.”
Booker, who’s been campaigning for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, said he’s a “fan” of all three Democratic candidates.
“But when it comes to Hillary Clinton… it wasn’t even a question,” Booker said. “She’s profoundly qualified to lead our country during perilous times, as well as deeply adroit in policy.”