TAMPA, Fla. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie devoted much of his highly-anticipated keynote speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night to lessons learned from his mother.
“She was tough as nails and didn’t suffer fools at all,” Christie said. “The truth was she couldn’t afford to. She spoke the truth — bluntly, directly and without much varnish.”
“I am her son,” Christie said to laughter and applause.
Christie’s focus on his mother in the highly-watched address to delegates comes as Republicans are stepping up efforts to close an apparent gender-gap with Democrats.
“My mom, who I lost 8 years ago, was the enforcer,” Christie said. “She made sure we all knew who set the rules.”
He went on to list several examples of how, “I was her son.”
“I was her son as I moved into a studio apartment with Mary Pat to start a marriage that is now 26 years old,” he said.
The Republican said the “greatest lesson” learned from his mother was that “there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected.”
“She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting — but that respect could grow into real, lasting love,” he said.
“Now, of course, she was talking about women,” Christie said. “But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever.”