Governor Phil Murphy yesterday at his War Memorial press briefing responded to President Donald Trump’s rubber bullet and tear gas dispersal of peaceful protesters near the White House and subsequent walk through Lafayette Park to pose with a state Bible yesterday amid outrage countrywide about police brutality and the president’s divisive example.
“We have found a lot of common ground [on COVID-19 combat equipment, including PPE]… we’re grateful for that,” said the governor, in reference to his work with the White House through the teeth of a pandemic that to date resulted in the deaths of over 11,000 New Jerseyans.
But, he added, noting that Trump doesn’t pull punches and neither does he, “The notion of using tear gas or smoke devices or rubber bullets on peaceful protesters in exchange for a photo-op is disgraceful.”
Murphy made the observation in response to a reporter’s question in marked contrast to his past public efforts to make nice with the White House through the scourge of COVID-19.
Now, the question here is how the Murphy Administration has acted in response to the coronavirus in home state, where half of all deaths sustained by the virus were in longterm care facilities, as New Jersey faces the additional compounded challenge of multiple concentrations of protesters out on the streets demanding justice for the late George Floyd.
NJ.com columnist Paul Mulshine is not a fan, and questions the emphasis the administration placed on the crisis.
“A lot of my readers are complaining that the administration was doing things like cracking down on golfers and joggers while sending COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes. I gather there still isn’t full screening of the staffs in the nursing home. Do you think there should be an inquiry into that?” he asked the governor last month, prior to the establishment by Senate President Steve Sweeney and GOP senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21) of a bipartisan commission to make precisely that inquiry.
Earlier today, Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16), who occupies a Somerset County-based battleground district, generally gave Murphy strong marks, and discussed several areas where he believes Murphy has been dead on.
The governor, for example, is a forceful advocate for wearing masks to contain COVID-19.
Amid a dramatic reconcentration of populations in the streets, the issue of wearing a mask divides those who back Trump, who scorns a mask, and those who heed his government’s immunologist, Dr. Antony Fauci, who wears a mask. “I think the general public has every right to question the mask issue,” said Freiman. “The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] said no masks then did a 180 degree turn and said ‘masks.’”
Where does he stand on it?
He wears one in public.
“The analogy I use is physicians operating use masks to protect the sterile field,” the assemblyman said. “I’m not sure we’re messaging that out enough. You’re protecting others. People are making this argument about ‘my choice and my freedom’ as though it’s analogous to not wearing a hemet while riding a motorcycle. But it’s actually more analagous to driving after drinking, because it’s putting others at risk. The data around masks needs to be examined completely. But the issue is if it really prevents you from spreading the virus, then wearing a mask prevents you from spreading the virus, and if it doesn’t quite work, you wore a mask for a little while. In the interest of COVID-19 containment and saving lives, that seems like a reasonable trade-off.”
Murphy, moreover, has positioned the state to lead the country in tests administered, as highly populated country crossroads New Jersey absorbed the loss of well over 11K lives, one of the country’s most COVID-19 impacted.
Now the question: