What to Know
- Gov. Christie was photographed with his family on a beach shut down to the public amid New Jersey's government shutdown earlier this month
- He faced immediate backlash but consistently defended the outing
- On his radio show Thursday night, the governor said the backlash hurt his children "more than anything else" since he's been in office
Gov. Chris Christie says public outcry over his decision to lounge with his family on a public beach that was closed during New Jersey's government shutdown "upset his children more than anything else" since he's been in office.
The two-term Republican governor said on his regular radio call-in show on 101.5 FM Thursday night that his family was hurt by the backlash and "they don't understand people's unfairness and, quite frankly, their ignorance."
Christie was photographed over the Fourth of July weekend at Island Beach State Park, where the state provides a summer home to the governor. Christie ordered the shutdown of nonessential state government, including state beaches and parks, amid a budget impasse.
The governor faced immediate and intense backlash from the public for appearing to shut down state beaches to everyone but him and his family.
The pictures sparked a global reaction. Countless memes featuring a Photoshopped cutout of Christie in a beach chair, headlines on international news sites and a full-scale media blitz from Christie's spokesman. A huge mock sand sculpture of Christie lounging in a chair popped up on a Seaside Heights beach, drawing spectators before hours before someone smashed it.
The photos are part of a bruising finale for the self-admitted lame-duck governor, who had been a regular on late-night TV and a Republican superstar after Sandy hammered his state in 2012.
Christie's job approval in New Jersey has sunk to 15 percent, tumbling after the convictions of three former aides in a scheme to deliberately cause traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge, his failed presidential run and his backing of President Donald Trump.