Christie tells National Guard leader to slim down
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie wants the leader of New Jersey's National Guard to shape up.
The governor has given Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff 90 days to slim down and meet his obligations.
The action comes after Christie's staff told The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1V6jBh9 ) that the governor was unaware the general had been reprimanded by the Pentagon about his weight and for repeatedly dodging physical-fitness tests.
The newspaper obtained the records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Christie declined a request for an interview.
"The Governor has expressed directly to the General that his failure to meet that standard or to provide notification of his formal reprimand is both unacceptable and disappointing," Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said in an emailed statement.
The governor has given Cunniff 90 days to slim down and "meet his obligations," Roberts wrote.
It was not clear how much weight the general must lose. Cunniff took a fitness test in November 2013, his first in more than three years. He flunked when his waist size was measured at 43.5 inches — 4.5 inches larger than what was allowed.
Cunniff declined an interview request. But the National Guard released a statement in which the general acknowledged he failed to meet the Air Force's fitness requirements in recent years.
"Many people struggle with weight control — I am not immune from this," the general said in the statement. "However, I do recognize that military members and leaders, like myself, are held to a higher standard. I take this matter seriously and am taking the necessary steps to remedy this issue," the general said.
Christie, who once called himself "the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen," secretly underwent weight-loss surgery in 2013. A band was surgically placed around his stomach to restrict how much food he could eat.