From the Chicago Tribune:
There’s Gov. Chris Christie, lounging in a beach chair in the Oval Office. There he is again, sitting in the sand as the lovers from the movie “From Here to Eternity” roll around in the surf. And there he is, relaxing outside the meat store from “The Sopranos.”
Christie is getting blistered online and in the real world after he was photographed with his family soaking up the sun on a beach that he had closed to the public over the Fourth of July weekend because of a government shutdown.
A deeply unpopular Republican serving out his final six months in office, Christie was lambasted Monday as selfish and arrogant, and jokesters online inserted the picture of him in sandals, shorts and a T-shirt into various photos and movie and TV scenes.
New Jersey state beaches and parks were shut down over the weekend along with motor vehicle offices and other services deemed nonessential after Christie and the Democratic-controlled Legislature failed to agree on a budget for the new fiscal year that began Saturday.
Christie defended his visit to the shore, saying that he had previously announced his plans to vacation at the state-owned governor’s beach house and that the media had simply “caught a politician keeping his word.”
“That’s the way it goes,” Christie said Saturday about his family’s use of the beach house. “Run for governor, and you can have the residence.”
“I didn’t get any sun today,” Christie told reporters at a news conference later in the day in Trenton. Then, when told of the photos, his spokesman told NJ.com that the governor was telling the truth because he was wearing a baseball hat during his 45-minute visit to the beach.
Now, there’s the real news–the biggest fucking hat in the history of the world!! But, I digress….
People in New Jersey and beyond seized on what many saw as a let-them-eat-cake gesture by the state’s chief executive.
“Taxpayers can’t use the parks and other public sites they pay for, but he and his family can hang out at a beach that no one else can use?” asked Mary Jackson, a Freehold resident. “Doesn’t he realize how that looks, how people will see it as a slap in the face?”
The sticking point in the budget stalemate is Christie’s demand that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield be overhauled so that the state can tap into the nonprofit insurer’s surplus.
Christie’s approval rating is already at an abysmal 15 percent, after three aides were convicted or pleaded guilty in the bridge scandal and after he threw his support to Donald Trump when his own presidential campaign fizzled.
He was passed over for vice president and apparently didn’t get the high-level job in Washington that he wanted, but he has been mentioned as a possible late addition to the Trump administration.
“It is hard to imagine a worse optic for public relations on a hot July day. Pollsters may find out how low approval ratings can go in New Jersey,” said Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley.
I know this story seems to be one of those fun what’s the big deal? stories, but consider the lost revenues while the pig and his family tan their privileged asses. From Newsworks:
On day three of the New Jersey government shutdown, business owners near Island Beach State Park say they’re struggling to make sales during the critical extended holiday weekend.
Gale Coleman, owner of 3C’s Luncheonette on Route 35 in Ocean County’s Seaside Park, says Saturday and Sunday were rough on her business. She estimates business down by 50 percent during the first two days of the shutdown.
When asked if the park’s closure due to the ongoing state budget impasse is directly responsible for lagging sales, she said yes.
“It has everything to do with Island Beach State Park being closed. We depend on Island Beach State Park,” she said, standing in the brilliant sunshine outside her business. “You can never make up your financial loses. There’s no way to do it.”
A few blocks north, Shore and More General Store owner, Dominick Solazzo, a father of two young children, is dealing with a similar situation. Like Coleman, he relies on traffic to the park.
“The roads are empty. There’s no flow to the park,” he said. “We’re one of the only places to get your essential beach needs. The park is a generator for a huge amount of people that come through here. That flow makes our business.”
Think, too, about the people who saved up their money for vacations and are not allowed to go to places they thought they would be able to go. Then there’s this, from nj.com:
New Jersey Special Olympians will just have to do with a little less this year.
Calling it an “unfortunate” situation, New Jersey Special Olympics President and CEO Heather Andersen said this afternoon that the Statue of Liberty 5K — which was expected to raised roughly $40,000 for the state’s Special Olympians — has been canceled because of the state shutdown.
Andersen said the participants — who had each raised at least $100 for the organization — were going to be notified by email that the race has been cancelled. The monies raised go toward training, competition and leadership opportunities for the Special Olympics competitors, officials said.
Andersen said she is going to ask the participants to put the money they raised toward next year’s race.