Phil Murphy was eating dinner with his family Saturday night in Red Bank when a woman spotted him and offered a blunt greeting:
“You are such a dick,” she said.
The governor seemed unfazed and continued eating, but the verbal assault wasn’t over.
When someone at Murphy’s table asked the woman to put on a mask, the response was “Go F…. yourself.”
Turns out two women were involved and that a third ushered them away. The whole episode, which took all of 36 seconds, has been making the rounds on social media.
The governor said at his briefing today that he’s a “big boy” and has a tough skin, but, “our kids are not part of that.”
He said he never would condone “bad behavior,” but if it occurs, his children should be left out of it.
Murphy, like all governors, has state troopers accompanying him all the time, but there was no visible sign of any police in the short video. Today, Murphy declined to talk about his state police detail.
But he actually offered an understanding why some may be inclined to lash out.
“The stress levels are overwhelming,” he said, referring to both the state and the country.
He speculated that the angst in the nation probably hasn’t been this high since the 1860’s and the 1930’s, adding, “Who the heck can blame you for being stressed?”
Murphy suggested that lashing out at those who accosted him and his family or calling them names would serve no purpose.
He did express gratitude that as news of the dinner incident circulated, many Republicans reached out to offer support, including Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, with whom he spoke.
The governor was reminded today that there have been instances of Trump administration figures getting verbally abused in restaurants.
He understands why.
“This is a nation that’s been ravaged – torn in two,” he said.
And that is why, he added. “This is exactly not the time to be going after each other.”