Murphy unloads on Trump ‘crackpot’ theories, ‘pathetic minions’
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday did not mince words, saying Republican congressional delegates supporting the continued, unfounded election objections of President Donald Trump were involved in a “shameful, dangerous, undemocratic and unpatriotic display."
At the state's coronavirus response briefing, Murphy said he had to get something off his chest first. He then criticized "a number of congressional Republicans who are openly and unabashedly working to undermine our constitutional norms — and there is no other word for it — and to overthrow a free and fair election decided by the American people.”
He continued, in referring to Trump, “An American president, sitting in the Oval Office, working the phones to subvert American democracy for his personal benefit. Let that sink in for a minute.”
“Congress meets this Wednesday, Jan. 6, to accept the vote of the electoral college, and thankfully there are enough republicans in Congress to prevent the fevered dreams of a small band of right-wing conspiracy theorists and their pathetic minions — like Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Reps. Louie Gohmert and Mo Brooks — from succeeding," Murphy said.
“The votes — the voters — have spoken, our election officials have spoken, the courts have spoken and the Electoral College has spoken and yet that seemingly isn’t enough for those willing to overturn an election because they just can’t accept that their guy lost decisively.”
Murphy also had strong words for the one New Jersey congressman who has voiced support for the continued rejection of the election results.
“It pains me in particular to see one of our own representatives, Congressman Jeff Van Drew, cynically siding with conspiracy theorists and throwing his fate in with the far-right's disproven and crackpot theories. If that’s the legacy that Jeff wants, then I guess it is what it is."
The Democratic governor also said that it was "shocking" that just a "tiny number" of senior New Jersey Republicans "have done the right thing by acknowledging the true outcome of the election.
"I know there are many more who privately share their misgivings about the rabbit hole their colleagues are preparing to drag our nation and the Constitution down and their silence is equal to acquiesce."
Naming former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman and state Assemblyman John Bramnick, Murphy continued: “I commend the Republicans who have shown the courage of their convictions to say what’s right. But we’ve lost something greater when acknowledging the will of the people after an election is considered ‘courageous.’ Shame on those who haven’t found any semblance of courage.”
Murphy also shared some of his Monday comments on Twitter, where he wrote of the plan by some GOP politicians to refuse to certify the vote of the Electoral College.
“This cowardly and reckless effort weakens our republic here at home and undermines America’s efforts to promote democracy around the world," he said.
It's a parallel statement to one issued by former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said on Sunday: "Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden’s victory strike at the foundation of our republic."
"It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans," Ryan added. "The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy."
Murphy said he was "appalled" by the audio of a Saturday call between Trump and Georgia's secretary of state, which was made public by The Washington Post. During the call, Trump urges Brad Raffensperger to overturn the results of the election in Georgia, saying at one point "I just want to find 11,780 votes."
“I listened to enough that I was appalled, literally appalled," Murphy said. "Takes your breath away. Now we know why the president left Florida and went to the White House on New Year’s Day."
During the pandemic, Murphy and Trump have largely gotten along in the public eye, including a shared dinner involving their spouses at Trump's Somerset County golf club back in June. While Murphy has criticized some aspects of the federal response to the pandemic, he also makes sure to note that "when our fat was on the fire," the Trump administration pulled through for New Jersey.
While Murphy and his administration have been involved in routine video tele-conferencing led by the White House Coronavirus Task Force during the public health crisis, Murphy said on Monday he was unaware of the week's schedule.
"They’re obviously focused on other matters at the moment," he said. "Wouldn’t want to get in their way. It’s only a pandemic, folks.”