Mind the (media) gap: Christie skips the press in London

Story highlights

  • Chris Christie avoided talking to press while in London on Tuesday
  • The New Jersey Republican is facing questions about a new report that details lavish travel paid for by foreign governments
  • He also made headlines Monday for his vaccination response

(CNN)Gov. Chris Christie canceled three scheduled media appearances with reporters in London on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the New Jersey Republican made controversial comments about vaccinations and after a new report revealed lavish travel by Christie that was paid for by others.

"We're just not having a gaggle today," Christie's spokeswoman, Maria Comella, told reporters without giving a reason.
Christie was scheduled to make remarks to the press after having lunch with British Chancellor George Osborne, but he did not come to the microphones. "We had a lot of fun," Christie said as reporters shouted questions at him. He and his wife, Mary Pat, walked to a waiting car holding hands.
    The potential presidential contender, on the final leg of his three-day trip to the United Kingdom, also dodged questions after an event earlier in the day when he stopped by the Hope House, a drug and rehabilitation center that counts members of the royal family among its supporters.
    And he declined to talk after stopping by the Globe Theatre to watch Rutgers students rehearse William Shakespeare's "Henry V."
    When pressed by reporters, according to a Washington Post reporter, Christie responded,"Is there something you don't understand about 'No Questions'?"
    A New York Times story Monday night disclosed new details about travel and gifts that Christie has accepted from foreign governments and wealthy donors, including a weekend trip paid for by King Abdullah of Jordan. And casino mogul Sheldon Adelson let Christie fly on his private plane to Israel in 2012, right around the time when Christie was facing a decision of whether to sign a bill legalizing online gambling in New Jersey.
    Christie's office said in the story that Adelson did not personally lobby Christie to veto the bill, and the governor ultimately decided to sign it, anyway.
    The story also takes a wider look at Christie's penchant for expensive travel and his history of hobnobbing with celebrities, despite portraying himself as a no frills, average guy from Jersey known for his blunt, candid personality that strays from the typical persona of a politician.
    Christie's acceptance of free travel from King Abdullah doesn't appear to break any laws. He signed an executive order in 2010 that allows New Jersey governors to travel at the cost of foreign governments. As for three parties that King Abdullah hosted for Christie during the trip, the governor's office cited a law to the New York Times that lets governors accept gifts from personal friends.
    Comella declined to dispute anything about the article when CNN asked her on Tuesday, saying she would not comment on it.
    The same law was referenced when Christie's expenses were covered by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to an NFL game last month in Dallas.
    Christie also caused a stir Monday when he suggested that parents should have "some measure of choice in things" like vaccinating their children, describing it as a "balance that the government has to decide."
    The vaccination debate has seen renewed attention after the measles have seen a resurgence despite being declared eliminated in the U.S. by 2000.
    His comments, as well as those by some other potential presidential contenders Monday, stirred up a political firestorm over where Republicans and Democrats stand on the issue.
    Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Christie, followed up in an email to reporters that Christie "believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated."
    Christie is scheduled to stay in London until Wednesday morning but does not have any more public events.