Phil Murphy blasted for Costa Rica trip amid COVID surge

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Phil Murphy blasted for Costa Rica trip amid COVID surge

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has been slammed for going to Costa Rica on an eight-day Christmas vacation while the state experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases. ​​

Murphy and his wife, Tammy Snyder Murphy​, left for the Central American country on Dec. 22. That day, New Jersey recorded ​​9,711 cases​, a single-day record since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Just seven days later, the state Department of Health reported that the number of new confirmed cases had more than doubled, to 20,483.

The Murphys are scheduled to return from their trip Thursday.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew​ (R-NJ), ​a former Democrat who switched parties in December ​2019, ​called the governor’s tropical trip hypocritical.

“Governor Murphy defying orders, even his own, is nothing new,” ​Van Drew told Fox News on Tuesday. “He has left the state of New Jersey on personal trips multiple times during the pandemic, yet continuously imposes mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and virtual school is now back on the table.”

The governor and his wife, Tammy Snyder Murphey.
Murphy faced backlash for traveling amid an uptick in COVID cases.
AP

M​urphy came under similar heat in August when he jetted off to Italy for a 10-day vacation, leading his predecessor Chris Christie to say the getaway showed “how seriously the governor takes his job.”

Van Drew also pointed out Tuesday that Costa Rica is under a “reconsider travel” advisory by the State Department because of the spread of coronavirus and high crime in the country.


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“If Governor Murphy can travel out of the country when the State Department urges the American people to stay put, Americans should be afforded the same discretion regarding their personal health choices just like our leaders,” ​Van Drew said. 

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden take a walk with their new dog Commander, near their beach house in the Cape Henlopen neighborhood of Rehoboth Beach.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden take a walk with their new dog Commander, near their beach house in the Cape Henlopen neighborhood of Rehoboth Beach.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

“It is fitting that President Biden escapes his responsibilities by traveling to a Delaware beach house after saying responses to COVID-19 should be left to the states, and then Governor Murphy runs off to a Costa Rican beach​,” he continued. ​

The New Jersey Republican Party also took a shot at Murphy Monday after he called in to a virtual meeting between Biden and members of the National Governors Association from his vacation.

“Phil Murphy is currently in Costa Rica​,” the NJ GOP pointed out in a tweet. ​

The party continued to needle the governor on Wednesday, posting a tweet with a mockup of a postcard showing Murphy in sunglasses and a short-sleeved shirt in front of palm trees.

“Murphy’s Costa Ri-Cron vacation,” ​the postcard said.​ “Where the drinks are cool, but the COVID cases are hot back home.”

Murphy at an election night event.
Murphy was re-elected as governor in a shockingly close election in November.
Getty Images

“Even though COVID is exploding & New Jerseyans have to wait hours for a test (if they can get one at all), he was nice enough to find time to drop us this postcard!” the tweet mocked. “Thanks Phil, don’t work too hard! But then again, you never have.”

​Murphy, who was reelected by a closer-than-expected margin in November, defended his vacation plans last week.

“We’re going to spend some time together as a family,” ​he said Dec. 20. “Please God, we need that.”

Though the spike in cases has been blamed on the more contagious Omicron variant, the New Jersey Department of Health says nearly 97 percent of the variants it has sequenced in the last four weeks have been the more virulent Delta variant.

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