"Chris Christie's got his head in the sand": Labor secretary slams governor for minimum wage comments

Days after Chris Christie belittles advocates of a wage increase, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez unloads

Published October 23, 2014 5:02PM (EDT)

  (AP/Mark Humphrey)
(AP/Mark Humphrey)

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez ripped New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Thursday, saying that the Republican's recent remark that he's "tired of hearing about the minimum wage" show he's "got his head in the sand."

During a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Christie said, “I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or a father sitting around the kitchen table tonight in America saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’"

Perez, who took the helm at the Labor Department last July and has promoted the administration's effort to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, minced no words in response.

“I’ve met with minimum-wage workers in New Jersey,” Perez said today in Washington, according to Bloomberg News. “I’ve met with folks who -- the only raise they got, they’re baggage handlers at Newark Airport, and the only raise they got was when the voters increased the minimum wage.”

“Chris Christie’s got his head in the sand if he’s getting tired about the minimum wage,” Perez added. "Chris Christie needs to talk to his economists, who will tell him that 70 percent of GDP growth is consumption.”

While Christie is the latest GOP governor to make headlines by criticizing advocates of an increased minimum wage, he isn't the only one to do so in recent weeks. In a meeting with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared that the minimum wage "doesn't serve a purpose." Florida Gov. Rick Scott, meanwhile, delivered a befuddling answer in a Tuesday debate, when he said that he supports the concept of a minimum wage but that it isn't his place to say what it should be, because "the private sector decides wages."

By Luke Brinker

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