Chris Christie and Bill Brown Have Some History

Chris Christie and Bill Brown Have Some History

UPDATE (1:00 p.m. 3/10/12): Click here to watch video of the full exchange.

You may’ve heard about Governor Christie’s “shouting match” with a “former Navy Seal” yesterday afternoon in Roebling, New Jersey. It was all over the news last night. The Governor often is, and it’s not unusual for a emotionally-charged town hall verbal encounter to be the impetus of the coverage.

But the “Navy Seal” in question? None other than William Brown. Ring a bell?

From ABC27 (yes, the Harrisburg station):

Christie got into a heated exchange with 34-year-old William Brown, who is unhappy with the governor’s plan to merge Rutgers University’s Camden law school with Rowan University.

The exchange began when the former Navy Seal questioned the governor’s plan to merge the two South Jersey schools Thursday. It ended with the governor berating the Mount Laurel man, who attends Rutgers-Camden and interrupted Christie several times before being escorted out.

The governor said: “Let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end’s going to be thrown in jail, idiot.”

Our long-time readers know we’ve been covering Mr. Brown for awhile. He’s been a public figure in New Jersey politics for several years now. He’s testified in Trenton. Advocated for legislation. Save Jersey cheered his early work for servicemen as head of the “Veterans for Education” organization in 2008. We criticized him for abandoning the South Jersey GOP and running on a liberal Democrat slate for Assembly in 2009.

At all times, I think it’s perfectly fair to categorize William Brown as a vocal activist for more than one cause.

Of course, many South Jersey Republicans believe his favorite cause is “William Brown,” and will therefore conclude that he’s perfectly happy to have been on the receiving end of a signature Christie smackdown since it resulted in intensive media coverage. I’ll reserve final judgment on this particular incident until I see the video; I’m disinclined to trust print media accounts of the exchange. Their tone always suggests that the Governor was picking on someone defenseless.

I do, however, think you need to view the entire incident in this context: Mr. Brown is not a neutral party with a neutral opinion of the Governor. He’s an active Democrat with an anti-Christie worldview, not a random private citizen who showed up and happened to catch the Big Guy on a bad day!

Again, like I said, Bill is not a stranger to participation in public forums; in fact, he’s questioned the Guv at least once before. He posed a veterans affairs-related question to Governor Christie back in September 2010 at a veterans’ event (notably a full year after Mr. Brown’s failed bid for legislative office on the Corzine slate).

I think you’ll agree that THAT particular question was met with a perfectly civil response from the Governor:


28 thoughts on “Chris Christie and Bill Brown Have Some History

  1. Can't believe all of the papers, radio and everything else today. They make it sound like this guy is neutral party like you said Matt. Nice to have a little context!

  2. How can this be a done deal when there is no cost analysis. If christie thinks that RUC will go away quietly he needs to wake up. Jabba needs to come down to Camden and take RUC from my cold dead hands, yo fat filthy ape.

  3. The swiftboat impulse seems alive and well in reactions to this exchange. This is a legitimate vet, who studies at Rutgers Camden as do a large group of vets. Christie wants to give away Rutgers Camden to the financially precarious Rowan University, and thereby dismantle New Jersey's state university. Brown, a man loyal enough to his country to fight for freedom, deserves a say. Tea partiers, in their hey day, disrupted town hall meanings to a much greater degree. Democracy requires voices.

  4. This Brown guy is nothing more than a liberal jerk who is jealous of Christie, he is NOT a Navy Seal and how do we know he is an Iraq war vet. If he was expressing his opinion and disagreeing with Christie in a respectful matter, everything would be fine. He was being an obnoxious jerk and that's why the guv called him an idiot and he was removed from the hall! Way to stand up to these bullies guv!

  5. Wait a minute here. How do you KNOW he;s not a former Navy Seal? Do you have proof? As a liberal Democrat myself, I am for free speech and Christie is a big fat WRONG man.

  6. Not a fan of Brown's by any stretch of the imagination. With that said, while I'm a supporter of Gov. Christie he is completely wrong on the Rutgers/Rowan merger.

  7. Bill Brown wears the trident. He was a Navy SEAL. He is a great American and I'm proud to know him.

    Bill was instrumental in motivating Rutgers to become one of the leading universities in the nation for veteran programs. I saw it first hand and was on the committee that implemented the recommendations. Dick McCormick deserves the highest praise doing far more than the minimum for veterans – but Bill started the process.

    The Camden campus is Rutgers's gateway for veterans – it is where veterans can take advantage of the Yellow Ribbon program that allows them to transfer ALL of their credits. Rutgers is one of the highest quality schools in the program and second to none in my knowledge among AAU schools and the LIBERAL allowance of transfer credits. FYI, Rutgers also allows veterans to pay the in-state rate, regardless of where they came from.

    Bottom line – it was Bill Brown's leadership that was critical to making this all happen. Every veteran owes him a thank you – as does every American.

    Joseph, if you have the guts to switch from libeling Bill to slandering him (in person), please let me know, I'd like to be there to participate in the festivities. My hunch is that you're not up for it – because my hunch is that you're nothing but an internet troll.

    Have a nice day.

  8. Christie shouldn't have said "idiot." The media should've given full background on Mr. Brown as Mr. Rooney has done in this post.


  9. Luke, you don't know what you are talking about. William Brown is a self-obsessed sociopath who uses the veteran cause to his political benefit. He only started a veteran group as a platform for a political career he has failed by the way. He has cursed out Rutgers Administrators, students, politicians and the leader of the NJ VFW. He is only out for himself and links himself with legitimate causes for his own publicity. If he really cared about veterans or Rutgers, he would find a better way to express his beliefs than cursing, lying, interrupting a public official and taking the credit for the work of several veterans at Rutgers-Camden who created that group. Shame on this website for endorsing him in the past on the merger debate.

    Also, I went to Rowan and take strong exception to his constant bashing of my school in the news. However, I was against the merger, but now I have serious doubts based on the type of people Rutgers seems to be creating.

  10. This made me laugh. I have been covering the merger from day 1 and have not said a single negative thing about Rowan University, and I can't really think of anything negative in the press either, except for the truthful reporting on Rowan's large amount of debt and its very poor credit rating.

    Also, posting a video of brown making a point to the Rutgers Board of Governor's is hardly an endorsement. If anything, it was a display of how an issue like the merger has the ability to bring people who are polar opposites politically (myself and Bill Brown) on the same side of an issue.

    In fact, you can go and read the post I just put up admonishing Brown for his behavior and how it hurt the anti-merger movement yesterday. Hows that for an endorsement?

  11. Brian, I disagree with you. When you promote Brown on this website, you are endorsing him and his actions. Also, my comment was about his bashing of Rowan, not yours. I don't know you but I see you go to school with Brown.

    Brian, this is a great website, and you are a VERY good writer. Please let's remember our priority of "saving" New Jersey from liberal scum like this. The merger is a bad idea, but giving this enemy of our party a stage is even worse.

  12. Correction he was a Navy Seal and he is an A–Hole!!!

    I'm glad Christie stood up to this troublemaker and put him in his place!

  13. It still remains the fact that Christie, an elected public official, has a habit of losing his cool and habit of calling people names, and I don't mean their given names. Whether they have a history or not — Christie should deal with his anger issues in that he doesn't care whether they are female or male. You don't govern by intimidation. His actions display to people — to kids that see it likes he's the fat bully on the playground. He's a disgusting public example.

  14. Christie is obviously an egomaniacal bully who acts like Nero in what was supposed to be a Democractic town hall meeting. The guy who was escorted was merely engaging in dialogue on an issue he felt passionaltely about. Seems like you want a society in which all citizens bow down to the symbols of authority and brear brown shirts…or maybe in your case, black shirts.

  15. Yeah… those nasty old Tea Partiers… causing such a ruckus… if they could make it past the line of SEIU and other union thugs at the door. I'm sure the "occupy" movement stole all their tactics.

  16. Robert, if you want to "save Jersey", I'd recommend not calling veterans who disagree with you "liberal scum." That kind of ad hominem attack on somebody who appears to have served his country well makes you look like an complete asshole, and I'd imagine you're probably quite agreeable in person when you aren't anonymously hiding behind your computer keyboard.

  17. Oh I see Mike, because I am typing this respons on a public forum and not punching William Brown, I am a coward, right? No, William Brown is the coward. I too am a veteran- FYI. He is liberal scum, because only liberal scum would change their political beliefs overnight, and then go against his supposed good friend Scott Rudder when the Democrats offered him a political position because he was a SEAL. I also happen to know that the veterans at Rutgers University hate him. That is why they have been bashing him all week. Let's not forget his horrible assualt on our distinquished Law Professor for NO logical reason at all. You have no context Mike. You are late to this game while people like Matt and I have been seeing Brown's despicable behavior for years. Being a vet does not give him, or me, a pass.

    Matt said it perfectly- his favorite cause is William Brown. And the reason I don't give my last name is because that psycho attacks people online and through the media (like a wimp) and never in person. I heard of a veteran that tried to fight him because Brown was in his face, and Brown did nothing. Mike, please, keep quiet when you have no idea what you are talking about.

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