Beachside photos of New Jersey governor draw criticism, photo-mashups during state budget crisis
Thursday, July 6, 2017
On Sunday, a long-distance snapshot of New Jersey governor and former Republican United States presidential candidate and his family on a beach outside the gubernatorial residence in went public, raising criticism of the governor, who had ordered Island Beach and the rest of New Jersey's state parks closed the previous Friday amid a budget dispute. The response included comments from fellow Republicans and tourists, a plane over Seaside Park, and a variety of memes showing the Governor's beach chair digitally added to other images.
"[Christie's] rise to national prominence was that he had this reputation as a fighter, and that when he was fighting he was on the side of the Everyman and the New Jersey taxpayer against the status quo," Republican political strategist Kevin Madden offered. "I think the danger of the photos is that it undermines that."
Christie's lieutenant governor,, said, "If I were governor, I sure wouldn't be sitting on the beach if taxpayers didn't have access to state beaches. We need to end the shutdown now. It's hurting small businesses and ordinary New Jerseyans." Guadagno is planning to run for governor.
One visitor to Atlantic City, New Jersey — Matt Jenkins — told the press, "I think it's a shame, it's hideous."
Regardless of whether they shared Jenkins' opinion, users ofand similar programs added the Governor in his beach gear to images of television programs such as Jersey Shore and , movies like , and one scene from the .
On Monday, a plane towed a banner over Seaside Park reading, "Tell Gov Christie: Get the hell off Island Beach State Park," echoing the Governor's own words in 2011, in which he told visitors "Get the hell off the beach" asapproached. The plane received applause from beachgoers.
The dispute that precipitated the shutdown concerned a law letting the New Jersey state government decide how much money the state-founded health insurer Democrats. Governor Christie supported the bill. On Sunday, he told the press he would sign any budget the legislature sent him so long as the bill is passed as well: "If they send it to me with Horizon, I will sign it. If they send it to me without Horizon I will use my authority to make a smaller budget[...] If they send me a budget today the shutdown would be over. The Legislature is deciding not to send me either budget." The smaller budget that the governor proposed would include less funding for schools and other programs. Late Monday, the state legislature complied with the governor's stipulations, and Governor Christie signed the bill, reopening the state's parks in time for the holiday.would be allowed to accumulate before being required to contribute to the New Jersey state health fund passed the state Senate but not the House, which is largely made up of
Christie enjoyed an approval rating of roughly 70% after his response in 2012 to New York City, closed during rush hour, possibly as political retaliation against a politician in , New Jersey, the town most potently affected by the closure. He also lost the Republican presidential nomination to now-President Donald Trump and the vice presidential nomination to Mike Pence., but his popularity suffered following a 2016 scandal called , in which some of his aides ordered some of the entry lanes into the , a major artery for the commute from New Jersey into
Christie defended his decision not to cancel his family's vacation plans by pointing out that many of New Jersey's beaches, over 100 miles (160 km) remained open to visitors and saying that he has the right to use the gubernatorial residence and that his visit required no government services. The Guardian noted a state helicopter shuttled the governor between the park and the state capital, .
New Jersey is one of several U.S. states that did not have budgets ready for the fiscal year. The northeastern state of Maine also underwent a government shutdown.
- New Jersey legislature reaches deal with Christie to end shutdown" — , July 3, 2017. "
- Don Sweeney. "Chris Christie plus beach chair equals comedy goldmine" — , July 3, 2017
- Mahita Ganjanan. "Plane Flying Over New Jersey Tells Chris Christie to 'Get the Hell Off' the Beach" — , July 3, 2017
- Nick Corasaniti. "'That's Him': Christie Goes to the Shore, and the Critics Pounce" — , July 3, 2017
- "Top Democrat on N.J. government shutdown: 'It won't end today'" — , July 3, 2017
- Elinor Comlay. "Christie brushes off 'beachgate' saga during New Jersey shutdown" — , July 3, 2017
- Ralph Ellis and Deanna Hackney. "New Jersey government shuts down in budget standoff" — , July 3, 2017
- Jon Henley and Pádraig Collins. "Chris Christie boldly soaks up rays on beach he shut to public" — , July 3, 2017
- Nicole Hensley and Leonard Greene. "Gov. Chris Christie's family spends weekend at closed New Jersey park amid government shutdown" — , July 3, 2017
- Edward Helmore. "George Washington Bridge traffic trial: 10 things we learned from Bridgegate" — , November 4, 2016