NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Asked about the violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that people across the country are deeply anxious because of a lack of leadership and that President Barack Obama is at least partly to blame.
Christie's remarks came as he talked to reporters about the aftermath of the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
"Listen, I think that what's happening there is tragic," the Republican governor and potential presidential candidate said as he served Thanksgiving meals at a soup kitchen. "I think everyone has a right to protest, but those protesters need to be nonviolent."
After referring to deep national anxiety, Christie put some of the blame on the White House.
"The country has anxiety over lots of things and the only thing that clears up anxiety is leadership and direction," he said. "And I think the country needs more leadership and more direction and less division. So on Thanksgiving when everyone's thinking about what they're thankful for, hopefully they can also pray for some leadership in the country that'll be strong to help bring people together."
Asked if he was blaming Obama, Christie said: "I'm suggesting lots of people have responsibility for that ... not just the president. He's just one of them."
Christie declined to criticize the performance of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Republican, saying that "you never know exactly what's going on unless you're on the ground."
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