New Jersey’s picturesque Island Beach State Park was closed over on Sunday due to a budget standoff, except for Governor Chris Christie, his family and friends.
The governor, a Republican, shut down the state government at midnight on Saturday in a health insurance battle with the Democrat-led legislature.
While others were reportedly turned away by police, New Jersey Advance Media took a picture of Christie with his wife Mary Pat and others on the otherwise deserted beach.
Christie later travelled by helicopter from the beach in Berkeley to the state capital Trenton to hold a news conference about the shutdown. Asked if he got any sun, Christie replied “I didn’t get any sun today.”
When later told of the photo showing him relaxing on the beach, Christie’s spokesman Brian Murray said: “Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today talking to his wife and family before heading into the office.”
But that did not mean Christie got any sun. “He had a baseball hat on,” Murray said.
The governor is moving back and forth from Trenton to the summer beach house provided by the state in Berkeley to deal with the shutdown in the capital and also spend time with his family by the shore over the independence day holiday.
Christie said the beach house is “where my family is sleeping, so that’s where I’ll sleep tonight. When I have a choice between sleeping with my family, and sleeping alone, I generally like to sleep where my family is.”
On Saturday he said the beach house is separate from Island Beach State Park and his family will not be using any state services.
Asked if this is fair, Christie said: “Run for governor, and you can have a residence there.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010