WASHINGTON — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended his weekend getaway and took a swing at the press on Monday, one day after photos showed him kicking back on a state beach that he’d ordered closed to the public amid a state government shutdown.
In an interview with Fox 5 in New York, Christie mocked local media, saying, “I really wonder about journalists who spend money flying planes to look whether people are actually where they said they would be.”
On Sunday, NJ Advance Media published several aerial photos showing Christie, along with family and friends, on an otherwise empty stretch of sand at New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park, the site of an official governor’s residence. The park was one of several closed over the holiday weekend.
“What a great bit of journalism by The Star-Ledger,” Christie sarcastically told Fox 5, referring to the Newark-based newspaper, which ran a photo of Christie on its front page Monday. “They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with — his wife and his children and their friends. I am sure they will get a Pulitzer for this one.”
Christie said he made it clear a week ago that he would be vacationing at the New Jersey residence whether or not a shutdown occurred. He dismissed the idea that the beach closure was in any way his fault.
“If the legislature would pass a budget, then the park would be open,” he said.
On Sunday, Christie told reporters that he didn’t “get any sun” during his visit, as NJ.com reported. When confronted with the photos, a spokesman clarified that the governor was in fact on the beach, but “he did not get any sun” because “he had a baseball hat on.”
In a separate interview Monday with Fox 29 in Philadelphia, Christie joked that The Star-Ledger had exposed an “incredible scandal.” Of people upset that they couldn’t enjoy the beach over the holiday weekend, Christie said: “I’m sorry they’re not the governor. This is a residence.”
“Am I supposed to move out and stay in a hotel?” he added.
In a tweet Monday, the governor urged people to “come and enjoy” the beaches “open in 119 of our our [sic] 130 miles of coastline.”