Who else but Chris Christie?
Governor Christie, a New Jersey Republican and possible presidential candidate with a reputation for take-no-prisoners bluster, attacked the House Republican leadership on Wednesday for its refusal to allow a vote on a Hurricane Sandy relief bill the night before.
Mr. Christie said the Republicans had failed a “basic test of public service.”
He said “palace intrigue” had resulted in New Jersey residents’ being used “as a pawn.”
And he stated that the political machinations that doomed the bill were “why the American people hate Congress; it is why they hate them.”
Setting aside the usual caution that lawmakers, mindful of relationships and protocol, bring to public appearances, Mr. Christie made unequivocally clear whom he held responsible.
“There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner,” he said.
He then reiterated that the decision to block the relief bill “was the speaker’s decision, his alone.”
Those were unfettered fighting words, all the more potent emerging from the mouth of a governor who, just months ago, secured the coveted keynote spot at his party’s national convention, the traditional platform for its next anointed political star.
But there may be some calculus behind Mr. Christie’s ire.
The governor, who is believed to harbor presidential ambitions, has earned fans around the country with his regular-guy toughness. Some voters, disillusioned with both parties, are looking for a candidate who can claim a mantle of independence.
And Mr. Christie was careful to praise the efforts of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, another high-ranking Republican who is gaining in influence as Mr. Boehner struggles to control his caucus.
The remarks were made at an uneasy time for Mr. Christie and his supporters in the Republican Party, who cultivated the governor as a rising star only to find themselves astonished and hurt by his warm embrace of President Obama in the aftermath of the hurricane, days before the November election.
Some surrogates of the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, later blamed Mr. Christie for helping to turn the campaign’s momentum against him.
The governor has sought to mend those ties. It was unclear whether his words on Wednesday had strained them anew.
Mr. Christie reserved particular disdain for Mr. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, saying that he had repeatedly assured him that a vote would be held on the bill and that he was offered “no credible explanation” as to why that did not happen.
When he was informed, at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, that the bill had been scuttled, Mr. Christie said, he made four telephone calls trying to reach Mr. Boehner.
“He did not take my calls,” the governor said.
With that, Mr. Christie declared that he had lost trust in the most powerful elected Republican in the country.
“There is no reason at the moment for me to believe anything they tell me, because they have been telling me stuff for weeks, and they didn’t deliver,” the governor said.
He later added, “At the moment, I wouldn’t be looking to do much for House leadership.”
The governor’s anger stood in contrast with the stoicism of another independent-minded politician. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told reporters at a more subdued appearance on Wednesday that he was confident an agreement on the relief bill would ultimately be reached.
“It’s not for me to second-guess how you run a legislative body,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “I think we all know that both parties are fractured and are difficult to pull together and to lead.”
It was a response that was typical of the mayor, a political independent who has shown contempt for the passions and gamesmanship that often slow down the political process.
“His reaction was the same to all of these things: matter of fact,” recalled Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor who worked with Mr. Bloomberg to lobby Congress on the bill.
“It was businesslike,” he said. “It was, ‘O.K., what’s the next step?’ ”
David W. Chen contributed reporting.