New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has never been a man held in high esteem for his ability to regulate his disdain for the opinion of the New Jersey residents whom he serves.
In 2010, at a town hall meeting to discuss caps on property taxes, Governor Christie became engaged in an exchange between a New Jersey school teacher and librarian. He told the teacher she had entered education “knowing what the pay was”. To a librarian who had commented a third of the library’s budget had been cut, he replied, “The State of New Jersey doesn’t print money.”
In 2012, again at a public forum, he referred to a Navy Seal as “an idiot”.
In 2013, when challenged by a school teacher who had asked why the Governor had continued to portray New Jersey’s teachers and schools as failing, Christie became angry, pointed his finger in the face of the teacher and responded, “I am tired of you people. What do you want?” (At the time, Christie had initiated $1.6 billion in budget cuts to New Jersey’s educational system and $2 billion in corporate tax breaks.)
Later in 2013, the Governor’s administration became embroiled in federal investigations after reports surfaced that Governor Christie had ordered the closure of the George Washington Bridge in retaliation against Fort Lee’s mayor (a Democratic mayor who had refused to publicly endorse Christie’s second term as Governor.) Four members of Governor Christie’s administration pled guilty or accepted plea deals in relation to the charges brought by Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. District Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
Then there was the time he told a constituent who had questioned the allocation of federal funds provided New Jersey in response to Hurricane Sandy to “sit down and shut up.”
As Christie’s series of missteps has led to a 15% approval rating (the lowest of any Governor in the country), has seen him shut out of any positions in the Trump White House and has limited his opportunities for a political comeback anytime soon, one would think a wiser man would concentrate on rehabilitation of his image.
Perhaps, the Governor was well on his way to doing just that, but then a photographer happened to catch the governor at a beach over the July 4th holiday weekend, and Christie’s character flaws were once again the only thing standing between he and his hope of a political future.
Andy Mills, a photographer for the Star-Ledger, decided to follow a hunch and happened to capture Governor Christie, his family and friends alone on a state strip of New Jersey beach. The problem for Governor Christie is that Mr. Mill’s photographs documented Christie’s sunning himself on a lounge chair on the very same beach closed by order of the Governor – in response to Christie and New Jersey’s legislators failing to reach agreement on a state budget. (The Democratic controlled legislature and Governor Christie reached agreement on the budget Monday evening.)
The New York Times reported that Governor Christie’s response to the Beachgate scandal was that he was not going “to cancel weeks of planning because of the shutdown.”
The response on social media was swift and brutal from pundits and people alike. From the Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey speaking out against Christie on Twitter, to gifs and memes equating the governor to a beached whale, Governor Christie’s road to an appointment or nomination to any higher office seems as out of reach for him now, as his empathy had been for New Jersey residents and seaside communities who were forced off New Jersey state beaches on the July 4th holiday.
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) July 3, 2017
— POLITICO (@politico) July 4, 2017
Plane Trolls Chris Christie – “Tell Governor Christie to get the hell off Island Beach State Park.” https://t.co/ABmbdBR9EP
— 64 & Still Learning (@MikeRJohnson777) July 4, 2017
— Reuters Politics (@ReutersPolitics) July 3, 2017