New Jersey Governor, and 2016 Republican Presidential candidate, Chris Christie was kicked off of an Amtrak “quiet car” on Sunday morning after other passengers complained, Gawker is reporting.
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Passenger Alexander Mann said he witnessed Christie and his security detail board the 9:55 a.m. Amtrak train from Washington, D.C. to New York. Almost immediately, Christie was in a sour mood.
“He got on last minute yelling at his two secret service agents I think because of a seat mixup.”
Christie then took a seat in one of the Amtrak train’s so-called “Quiet Cars.” Amtrak offers these cars as an alternative for passengers who may not want to be disturbed by other passengers’ cell-phone conversations.
“Need a quiet space to work or unwind? We are pleased to offer Quiet Cars on many corridor trains. Guests are asked to limit conversation and speak in subdued tones. Phone calls are not allowed and all portable electronic devices must be muted or used with headphones (passengers using headphones must keep the volume low enough so that the audio cannot be heard by other passengers.) Low overhead lighting creates a restful atmosphere for all passengers, but reading lights are available.”
Yahoo Travel writer Sid Lipsey praised the Amtrak quiet car in a September column, calling it “our most civilized form of transportation.” Besides being, well, quiet, the quiet car is also usually less crowded than other cars; apparently, not all Amtrak passengers like being told to be quiet.
Chris Christie apparently didn’t get the memo. Already upset with his security detail, Christie — whom Mann notes was drinking what looked like a McDonald’s Strawberry Smoothie –started making phone calls on his cell phone. It’s not clear whom he was calling or what he was upset about, but he was quite “intense,” yelling and saying such things as “this is frickin’ ridiculous” and “Seriously?!” This went on for about ten minutes, before a conductor intervened and asked him to leave the quiet car. Christie was reportedly yelling at his security detail on the way out.
It’s not clear why Chris Christie would choose to ride Amtrak when, as Governor of New Jersey, he would presumably have at least one limousine at his disposal and could travel privately. The Sunday morning 9:55 Amtrak route from Washington, D.C. to New York can make the journey in about three hours on the Acela Express; the same journey would take about four hours to drive.
It’s also not clear how much of a security detail Christie had with him – he hasn’t yet been given Secret Service protection, as CNN reports, and Christie’s staff said Sunday that he traveled only with a single New Jersey State Trooper.
For his part, Chris Christie’s office owned up to the incident rather forthrightly. In a statement on Sunday morning, via the Philadelphia Inquirer, Christie spokesperson Samantha Smith confirmed the passenger’s account of what happened.
“On a very full train this morning, the Governor accidentally took a seat in Amtrak’s notorious quiet car. After breaking the cardinal rule of the quiet car, the Governor promptly left once he realized the serious nature of his mistake and enjoyed the rest of his time on the train from the cafe car. Sincere apologies to all the patrons of the quiet car that were offended.”
As of this writing, Chris Christie himself has not yet commented publicly on his ejection from the Amtrak quiet car.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]