Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-controlled state legislature were locked in a budget battle as the deadline for a deal was reached on Friday, June 30. With both sides at an impasse, Christie ordered a partial government shutdown for the Garden State, according to NJ.com.
Part of the shutdown included the closure of all state-operated public beaches and parks, which no doubt put a crimp in the holiday weekend plans of many New Jerseyans … except of course for the governor himself, his family and close friends, who were spotted enjoying a virtually deserted public beach on Sunday, according to Politico.
Christie, no stranger to politically-damaging scandals, was spotted and photographed at the Island Beach State Park enjoying the sand, sun and surf on the beach in front of the governor’s official beach residence. This sparked waves of criticism regarding the tone deaf appearance of political elitism by Christie relaxing on the beach while the public was forced to rearrange their weekend plans.
It was “beyond words” in the opinion of Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno., potential successor to Christie’s position, who further stated Monday, “If I were governor, I sure wouldn’t be sitting on the beach if taxpayers didn’t have access to state beaches.”
— POLITICO (@politico) July 3, 2017
“We need to end the shutdown now. It’s hurting small businesses and ordinary New Jerseyans,” added Guadagno. “Instead of political games, Gov. Christie, Speaker (Vincent) Prieto and Senate President (Stephen) Sweeney should pass a budget that delivers property tax relief and puts taxpayers first.”
But Christie appeared unrepentant when confronted with the criticism over his enjoying the beach that had been closed to the rest of the public, according to NBC News. “That’s where my family is sleeping so that’s where I’ll sleep. When I have a choice between sleeping with my family or sleeping alone, I generally like to sleep where my family is,” he stated at a news conference Sunday.
In a Monday morning interview with WTXF, Christie responded to his critics by stating, “I’m sorry they’re not the governor,” and wondered if people expected him to move into a hotel during the shutdown since the multiple governor’s residences are all state-operated.
In a separate interview, Christie’s reply to his critics was simply, “That’s the way it goes. Run for governor, and you can have the residence.”
The governor has called for a special reconvening of the legislature to hammer out a deal on the budget to end the shutdown, but any moral high ground Christie may have gained through his principled fiscal stand on the budget was ceded by his sitting on a closed public beach over the weekend while everyone else had to make other plans.
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