For all his bluster, Gov. Christie can sometimes seem like an easy mark. Sitting out on the gubernatorial stretch of Island Beach State Park last July while the rest of the state-owned beach was closed due to a shutdown left him, well, a sitting (now lame duck) gov.
The results, courtesy of an ace Star-Ledger photographer in a plane, were, well, instantly meme-infamous. And Christie, truly, has yet to live it down.
Last week, Christie’s successor, Democrat Phil Murphy, was photographed photo bombing a cutout of the Beachgate photo at a gala for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, which posted the photo on Facebook with the caption, “We’re proud to honor Gov-elect Phil Murphy tonight, but we’re ecstatic to receive an unexpected visit from outgoing Gov. Christie! #beachgate #ThePeoplesGala.
NorthJersey.com also posted a photo in its report on the North Jersey gala.
Christie did not see the humor in it. “I just think it sends a really terrible message,” he told a reporter from NorthJersey.com Friday night following a Jersey Devils game. “If you say you want to bring people together and do all the rest of that, then what you should want to do is focus on the future and not be looking at the past.”
Christie did not discuss what message the original photo sent, or the message behind his decision to go ahead with a beach weekend for his children and their friends at the governor’s beach house while the rest of the Island Beach was closed to the public. No doubt, he got the message from constituents and, frankly, the entire universe, who ridiculed his actions. He has said he did not want to disappoint his children by cancelling the long-planned weekend.
Murphy, questioned during a Puerto Rico trip over the weekend, said he couldn’t help himself from stepping into the Christie meme. “It was right in front of me!” Murphy told NJ Advance Media during a diplomatic trip to Puerto Rico on Friday. “I was standing near the cutout. I couldn’t resist.”