HARRY HURLEY OPINION - EDITORIAL

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is spending a Christmas time holiday vacation in Costa Rica with his family.

Governor Murphy is expected to return tomorrow (Thursday) back home to New Jersey.

While I appreciate and understand the optic that this may present for some; I see no problem with it at all.

Everyone needs time to get away from all of the present circumstances and decompress. Even a sitting Governor.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy has been very focused and committed to the battle. He can go away for 8 days and not deserve to be publicly flogged in the “Town Square” for it.

I know. I know. It’s easy to run with the narrative that the Omicron variant is running wild and the Governor of New Jersey is jet-setting on an international adventure.

To put some fair context on this, Governor Murphy is about 2,000 miles from home.

He could have traveled 1,000-plus more miles and still be in America.

I hosted a television program for 3 years solely about Costa Rica. It’s absolutely beautiful and they love Americans.

Many Americans have purchased property in Costa Rica, because of how appealing and investable it is.

It gives Americans the opportunity to get away from it all; while actually staying close to home at the same time.

Governor Murphy has presided over the state of New Jersey for 4 years; one-half of that time during a grueling COVID-19 pandemic and the relentless, daily grind of the 2021 election season.

I refuse to accept that it is somehow a high crime and misdemeanor for Governor Murphy to go away for 8 days during the end of 2021 with his family.

For me, there is nothing political about this at all. And, don’t think for a minute that when Governor Murphy did his own calculus about whether or not to go away … he well knew that he was going to get crushed by many in the court of public opinion.

Yes, I know that the State Department is warning travelers to reconsider visiting Costa Rica due to COVID-19 and that “positive” cases are presently surging in New Jersey.

You can be sure that Governor Murphy is flying private and not commercial and that he fully scoped out his vacation living accommodations.

You can disagree with Governor Murphy’s philosophy of governance. That’s fair game.

What I don’t think is fair is to pounce on any and every issue. Even a Governor is entitled to take time off.

Murphy, the vice-chair of the National Governors Association, called in from Costa Rica to President Biden’s COVID-19 response meeting with the nation’s governors on Monday, where he received a personal “thank you" from the president during the public portion of the nationally televised meeting.

Murphy and his wife (Tammy)  left the country on December 22nd and are due back tomorrow. Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver is currently serving as acting governor.

"We’re going to spend some time together as a family," the governor responded, as NJ.com recently reported. "Please God, we need that."

I agree with this comment.

I well remember when my friend, former Governor Chris Christie was similarly blasted for taking his family to Disney World during a major snowstorm.

I defended Governor Christie then, just as I am defending Governor Murphy today.

We have big issues to grapple with. This style of trying to score some cheap political points serves no useful purpose.

In a rare split decision, my good friend, United States Congressman Jeff Van Drew sees this very differently than I do, telling Fox News digital in a statement that he finds Murphy’s trip to Costa Rica hypocritical.

"Governor Murphy defying orders, even his own, is nothing new," the congressman said. "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."

"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," he continued. "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."

We’ll agree, to disagree on this one.

I support Governor Murphy’s right to get away from it all and recharge his batteries and return to battle (political and Covid-19) tomorrow.

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