Gov. Chris Christie speaks out after New Jersey beach photos taken
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Some people in New Jersey are upset with Governor Chris Christie after photos showed him enjoying a beach that was closed to the public.
In comes in the midst of a government shutdown.
With New Jersey’s government shutdown, State-run beaches are closed and state-employed lifeguards are on furlough.
But after getting flack for the photos, Gov. Christie is pushing back.
"They caught me doing what I said I was going to do with the people I said I was going to be with," he said.
But these photos show the governor and his family soaking up the sun outside the governor’s official residence in a park just days after he shut down non-essential state services, including parks and beaches, during an ongoing budget battle.
"This government is not open because I can’t constitutionally let it be open. I don’t have any money," Gov. Christie said of the shutdown.
A reporter asked Christie about his sunburn later that afternoon.
"I didn’t get any sun today," was his response.
The photos published in the Newark Star Ledger late Sunday tell a different tale, showing Christie sitting on a lounge chair on an empty stretch of beach, prompting this response from Christie’s office: "He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on."
That only added to the frustration for families who were turned away from state parks.
"If the parks are shut down in New Jersey, he shouldn’t be able to enjoy them either," said Chris Lovelace, a resident of New Jersey.
The governor himself went on the offensive in a phone interview with a local morning show.
"I said last Monday, a week ago today, that no matter what happened we were coming here as a family this weekend, this is where we live. One of the places we live and so, what a great bit of journalism by the Star Ledger 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," Christie said.
Back at the parks, New Jersey residents said they are more concerned about their own vacation plans, not the governor’s.
The shutdown furloughed as many as 35,000 state workers. It also closed all 40 state parks, recreational areas, historic sites and state beaches just as the July 4 holiday weekend got underway.