IRVINGTON – West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi doesn’t anticipate any surprises on Election Day in his Essex County home town of roughly 50,000 people. He sees a win for former Vice President Joe Biden over President Donald J. Trump.
“I don’t think anyone can say this administration handled COVID-19 well,” said Parisi.
“Contrary to that,” he added, “I know it’s a tough spot and people like to criticize but I think our governor has done a good job.”
Recuperating from cancer surgery when the virus struck, Governor Phil Murphy returned to his command station to oversee a complete state shutdown, including a schools’ closure. Throughout and during the state’s partial reopning, Murphy emphatically stressed the need for social distancing, masks and hand-washing.
“Maybe the biggest criticism that people could make is that he has erred on the side of caution,” said Parisi, who occupies a district overseen at the state level by state Senator Dick Codey (D-27), who has been a key ally of Governor Murphy at the Statehouse.
“But when you’re in leadership and you’re talking about people’s health and people’s lives, he has done a really good job,” the mayor added. “It’s striking, when you look at what the federal government has done. In many ways the federal government did not do the country a service.”
On Friday, President Donald J. Trump tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequently, former Governor Chris Christie – who had advised Trump at the White House in advance of last Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Biden – announced via twitter that he had also tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I would never wish ill on anyone,” said Parisi. But Trump “minimized the need for masks [in the face of the COVID-19 virus] and hasn’t demonstrated the need to wear one.
“I don’t think anyone can say he’s surprised,” the mayor added.