New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in hot water this Fourth of July weekend because of pictures of Christie and his family on a closed beach. It's become an outrage because Christie is partly responsible for the beach being empty: the New Jersey government shut down on Saturday due to a budget dispute, closing state-run beaches in New Jersey to the public.
But that didn't stop Christie and his family from enjoying some time at Island Beach State Park. As police turned away families trying to get onto the state park beach, the Christies stayed on the land where the governor's summer beach house provided by the state is located.
New Jersey state parks, historical sites, and recreational areas were closed to the public as a part of the government shutdown at midnight on July 1. However, municipal-run beaches remain open to the public for the weekend.
According to the Star Ledger of New Jersey, Christie returned to the state capitol of Trenton Sunday afternoon to hold a press conference about the shutdown.
Reporters asked him if he got any sun, and he said no. But when informed about photos of the Christies' beach day, spokesman Brian Murray said, "Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today talking to his wife and family before heading into the office."
When asked if his stay at the closed beach was fair, Christie told reporters, "Run for governor, and you can have a residence." He also said that the beach is separate from the state park and that his family will not ask for any state services.
Christie's second term as governor ends in January 2018. According to Quinnipiac University's latest poll, Christie's approval rating is at 15 percent.
As a part of the budget dispute between the governor and state legislature (controlled by Democrats) that shut down the state, Christie is requiring that part of the $34.7 billion budget include a provision for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to spend some reserve funds on public health initiatives like Christie's drug treatment initiative, according to The New York Times. State Assembly speaker Vincent Prieto refuses to do so.
The last New Jersey government shut down occurred in 2006. At least nine other states did not pass a budget on July 1 this year, the beginning of the fiscal year, but others have statutes in place to continue government operations regardless of the budget.