New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a Catholic, but that hasn't stopped him from openly disagreeing with Pope Francis, decrying the pontiff's public praise for improving relations between the United States and Cuba as "wrong."
"I just think the pope was wrong," Christie, who is running for president, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday. "The fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones."
He later added, "I just happen to disagree with the pope on this one."
Watch Christie's remarks about Pope Francis below:
Christie is particularly frustrated over Cuba's decision to harbor Joanne Chesimard, a woman who was convicted in the 1973 murder of a New Jersey state trooper. After escaping prison in 1979, she reportedly fled to Cuba and was granted political asylum, NBC News reported.
"I just believe that, when you have a government that is harboring fugitives, murdering fugitives, like Joanne Chesimard, who murdered a state policeman in New Jersey in cold blood, was broken out of prison, and has been harbored for the last 40-plus years by a Cuban government that has paid her and held up her as a hero, that this president could extend diplomatic relations with that country without getting her returned so she can serve the prison sentence that she was sentenced to by a jury of her peers in New Jersey is outrageous," Christie said.
Christie's remarks come after Pope Francis praised the easing of tensions between the U.S. and Cuba as a model that the world can follow; the pontiff secretly assisted in helping facilitate more positive relations between the two countries over the past 18 months.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with the media at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
"For some months now, we have witnessed an event which fills us with hope: the process of normalizing relations between two peoples following years of estrangement," the pontiff said after he arrived in Cuba on Saturday.
He continued, "I urge political leaders to persevere on this path and to develop all its potentialities as a proof of the high service which they are called to carry out on behalf of the peace and well-being of their peoples, of all America, and as an example of reconciliation for the entire world."
(H/T: Huffington Post)