GOP presidential prospects objected to claims from Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton in which she criticized Republican governors for inhibiting the voting rights of minority groups throughout their states.
Speaking at Texas Southern University, where she received an award in honor of African-American civil rights activist Barbara Jordan, Clinton called out members of the Republican Party for “systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” through state laws regulating early voting and requiring identification to prevent voter fraud, ABC News reported.
“What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people, from one end of our country to another,” the former Secretary of State said.
Clinton later specifically called out Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for what she believed to be harmful practices to voting rights, CNN reports.
"Here in Texas, former governor Rick Perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with a purpose of discriminating against minority voters,” Clinton stated. “He applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted. And said the lost protections were out dated and unnecessary.
"But Governor Perry is hardly alone in his crusade against voting rights,” Clinton continued. “In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation to extend early voting. And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000.”
While many in the Republican Party publicly lambasted her remarks, Christie was perhaps more blunt than the others.
When asked by host John Dickerson of CBS’s “Face the Nation” to respond to Clinton’s allegations, Christie stated, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“In New Jersey, we have early voting that are available to people. I don’t want to expand it and increase the opportunities for fraud, maybe that’s what Mrs. Clinton wants to do — I don’t know,” he continued.
Christie criticized Clinton for refusing to sit down for interviews or take any questions from reporters while on the campaign trail. In comparison, Chrsitie has repeatedly been to the all-important primary state of New Hampshire, where residents of his own state have blasted him for focusing on presidential politics rather than on the needs of New Jersey.
“The fact is the folks in New Jersey have plenty of an opportunity to vote and maybe if she took some question some places and learned some things she wouldn’t make such ridiculous statements,” he said, according to NJ.com.
Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and 2016, Rick Perry’s comments were noticeably more collected.
“I think it’s way outside the norm of ridiculous, if you want to know the truth of the matter, to call out the people of the state of Texas, because that’s what she did,” Perry told Dana Bash of CNN.