Dining outdoors at a restaurant over the weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy and his family were confronted by a pair of women who delivered a profanity-ridden tirade and recorded the exchange on video.
In the video posted to Twitter late Sunday and viewed over 1.5 million times, two women are heard off camera targeting first the governor and then turning their attention to the rest of the family.
“Oh, my god, Murphy, you’re such a <expletive>,” one of the hecklers is heard saying to the governor, within spitting distance.
The women are asked by someone off camera to wear a mask, to which they responded: "You can go <expletive> yourself, how's that?"
The exchange captioned in the 36-second video doesn't deliver a clear motive behind the public confrontation. As for the Murphy family, they appeared to be dining appropriately based on the state's health guidance. No one at the table was wearing a mask in the video, which is allowed when eating.
"I'm a big boy," Murphy said when questioned about the video at his coronavirus briefing Monday. "I have thick skin, that doesn't impact me at all. I would say this though, our kids are not part of that."
The governor confirmed the authenticity of the video and its timeline. The family was dining at a restaurant in Red Bank when the two women approached with little notice, Murphy said. A third woman who appeared to be affiliated with the other two eventually pulled them away, he added.
"There's more stress in our state and our country than any of us has ever seen," he added during his briefing. "Let's all keep each other in our prayers right now because it's an extremely stressful time right now."
State elected leaders from both sides of the aisle condemned the harassment of Murphy's family late Sunday after the video was first posted to social media. Several state senators agreed on the need for healthy public debate and criticism, but the choice to target a family was "out of bounds."