Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie has focused his attention on Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, the leader of the 8,400-member New Jersey National Guard, for being reprimanded by the Pentagon for his substandard physical condition, NBC New York reported. The governor has given Cunniff 90 days to slim down.
Christie’s staff claimed the governor was unaware of Cunniff’s reprimand about his weight and his repeated avoidance of physical fitness tests, according to a related Washington Post article.
In an emailed statement quoted in the Post, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said, “The governor has expressed directly to the general that his failure to meet [the physical standards] or to provide notification of his formal reprimand is both unacceptable and disappointing,” while a separate statement released by the Nerw Jersey National Guard claimed Cunniff is "taking the necessary steps to remedy this issue."
“Many people struggle with weight control — I am not immune from this,” Cunniff was quoted 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.”
Not meeting physical-fitness standards is a serious infraction in the military and can result in dismissal, the Post reported before mentioning that Christie himself had weight-loss surgery two years ago.