New Jersey is buried after an epic snowstorm. And Gov. Chris Christie is … at Disneyworld.
Critics are blasting the Republican governor’s decision to remain on his Sunshine State vacation while New Jersey residents grapple with the aftermath of a devastating blizzard.
To make matters worse, Christie’s Lieutant Governor Kim Guadagno is vacationing in Mexico, leaving Senate President Stephen Sweeny—a Democrat—in charge.
“We clearly made a mistake if we created the office lieutenant governor and wasted money if the lieutenant governor is not going to be here when the governor is out of state,” New Jersey Democrat Sen. Raymond Lesniak told New Jersey’s Star Ledger. “It’s being handled very well by Sen. Sweeney, but you have to really question the purpose of the office.”
Guadagno is the state’s first lieutenant governor. She was in Mexico when the blizzard hit.
Christie left for vacation on Sunday—the same day Sweeney declared a state of emergency in New Jersey—with his wife and four children. He is expected to return on Thursday.
The governor’s spokeswoman, Maria Comella, told Politico that “snow in the northeast happens often,” and that the response to the snow is being handled by the acting governor, secretary of transportation, state police and the governor’s staff. “And like every other day, the governor was and continues to be in regular contact with his staff and cabinet officers,” she added.
New Jersey politicians aren’t the only ones being slammed for their response to the cleanup. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was criticized over the city’s snow-removal efforts. When asked during a tense news conference Tuesday if he regretted the city’s response, the mayor sarcastically responded, “I regret everything in the world.”
Steve Benen, of The Washington Monthly, wrote that although recovery is going fine in New Jersey, Christie—whose name has been floated in the 2012 presidential race—could be making a political mistake by staying in Florida.
“When it comes to keeping up appearances, this doesn’t look great for the New Jersey governor,” Benen said. “The vacation scheduling was clearly a mistake; Christie bolted even after being told about the impending blizzard; he’s making no effort to cut short his trip; and Democratic officials are doing all the heavy lifting (sometimes literally) while the governor enjoys some fun in the sun.”
(Source: NY Daily News)