Very late Monday night, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his intent to sign a new budget once the legislature got its job done. He vowed to stay there as long as it took, so that New Jersey beaches could reopen for the Fourth of July holiday. This display, of course, followed days of controversy after Christie was snapped by aerial paparazzi on a closed beach (while wearing beachy attire) with his family, yet he later claimed that he was only talking to his wife. This earned some Marie Antoinette comparisons, but when Christie took the mic on Monday night, he admitted to sitting on the beach for “40 minutes” and stayed defiant while insisting that he wasn’t “getting sun”:
“I don’t apologize for it. I don’t back away from it. I think my poll numbers show that I don’t care about political optics … Shame on those people who wanted to make this as if we were taking advantage of something. I just don’t agree with.”
Christie also took time to make fun of the press for caring about his beach-going adventures: “If they had flown the plane over that beach, and I was sitting next to a 25-year-old blonde in that beach chair next to me, that’s a story.” Yet (at least) he holds no illusions about his poll numbers, which handed him a 15% favorability rating in mid-June. A few months ago, his numbers were better, but he was still regarded as the “most unpopular governor” in the country.
Well, the real story now is that Christie felt enough pressure that he signed a new budget (which was supposed to have been finished on June 30) at about 2:30 am on Tuesday, thereby clearing the way for Jersey shorelines to reopen for Independence Day. He also announced that state employees would receive a paid holiday, which wasn’t in the initial plan.
Here’s a photo of Christie signing the new balanced budget, just so you know he’s getting the job done. Happy Fourth of July, y’all!