Pastor Kenneth Clayton is demanding that N.J. Governor Chris Christie (pictured) apologize for referring to the state’s first Black female assemblywoman, Sheila Oliver, by race and gender, rather than by her name, according to New York Daily News.
Speaking at a church Tuesday, Christie said that an “African-American female speaker of the Assembly” was impeding a vote on a school-voucher bill that would allow children in poor-performing school districts to take classes elsewhere.
Oliver, the African-American female Christie was referring to, said she was “appalled” that Christie brought her racial background in to a discussion about schools. On Thursday, the pastor for the church where Christie spoke at demanded he apologize for his words.
“I was and am saddened by the governor’s blatant attack [against Oliver],” said St. Luke Baptist Pastor Clayton to the New York Daily News. “The words that the governor chose to use in speaking of Oliver, while not even respecting her enough to call her by name, defy his earlier assertion that political leaders, himself included, need to learn to respect all views and work together.”
Christie’s words may not have come at the best time as he is currently in his re-election campaign. He visited South Jersey Wednesday to receive an endorsement from a Black Democrat in Chesilhurst, a predominantly Black community. And this is not the first time the Governor has received flack for controversial comments toward Blacks.
In 2011, he compared the fight for same-sex marriage equality to the Civil Rights Movement and implied that civil rights leaders could’ve accomplished equal rights without violence. Christie later apologized for his remarks.
A spokeswoman for Christie said his comments at Oliver were taken out of context. He has yet to publicly address them.