Murphy: ‘I was as Angry as Anyone’

Murphy in Somerset

Staying healthy is the only reward you need.

Gov. Phil Murphy was asked today if the state would consider paying people to take the COVID vaccine.

“We have no plans to pay people,” he said, adding that the state doesn’t have the money, and perhaps more importantly, doesn’t need to.

He said about 2 million people have signed up to get the vaccine without a promise of a check.

The problem is not enticing the public, but getting enough of the vaccine.

Murphy spoke of an extraordinary imbalance between demand and supply. About 500,000 New Jerseyans have been vaccinated, but many more, obviously, are on a waiting list.

“All we need are the millions of doses we’ve been promised,” he said, adding that he’s hoping for the best when the vaccine rollout of the new Biden Administration gets going.

The governor attended Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday and one of those watching was Jay Webber, a Republican assemblyman from Morris Plains. He wondered if Murphy was going to self-quarantine after leaving the state.

The governor replied that he’s been tested for the virus twice this week and that Webber “should look carefully at what the rules of the road are.”

Murphy said there are exceptions to the quarantine for quick trips and also for essential business. He said attending a presidential inauguration is an official duty of a governor. Earlier, he noted that 12 governors were on hand for the festivities, half of whom were Republicans.

That wasn’t the only politics of the day. The other example also involved a Morris County Republican – Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, who like Webber, is from LD-26.

Leaders of both parties in Washington have condemned the housing of National Guard troops in parking garages after the inauguration.

“I was as angry as anyone,” Murphy said.

He was also miffed at some New Jersey Republicans who he said were a bit too hasty in criticizing him.

One of whom was Pennacchio, who fired off a release on Friday calling on the governor to bring the New Jersey National Guard home.

“While the politicos and power brokers celebrated and had a grand time inside, the guard was banished to sleeping on cold, damp, oil-stained concrete floors,” he said.  “It was inexcusable and indefensible treatment.”

That characterization in itself was not the issue.

Murphy said the issue was that no New Jersey National Guard troops were lodged in parking garages; all he said stayed in hotels.

Addressing his GOP critics, the governor said, “Next time … make sure you get your facts right.”

Moving on to a Democratic political issue, Murphy was asked about making an endorsement in LD-37 where two Assembly members – Gordon Johnson and Valerie Huttle – are vying to replace the retiring Loretta Weinberg in the Senate.

The governor brushed the question aside – at least for now. He said both Johnson and Huttle are good friends of his.

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