Pennacchio Fires Back at Robinson

Phil Murphy, who was in Seaside Heights over the holiday weekend, says he’s happy most people he saw were behaving responsibly.

It’s probably good he wasn’t in Point Pleasant.

That’s where he would have encountered Joe Pennacchio and other (mostly) Republicans speaking at an open-up New Jersey rally.

One paying attention to the rally was Chip Robinson, who has dual relevance here. Robinson is chair of the Morris County Democratic Committee and also a resident of Lincoln Park, which is in Pennacchio’s mostly Morris County, 26th District.

Robinson fired off a column, which is posted on this site, criticizing his state senator for taking part in a “political rally” during a pandemic.

Not surprisingly, Pennacchio, who also is co-chair of the president’s New Jersey reelection campaign, was not impressed.

He wanted to know if Robinson had an answer or an explanation as to why there are so many COVID-19 deaths in New Jersey nursing homes. And as Republicans have been wont to do of late, Pennacchio also wonders why such stores as Home Depot are allowed to open while many smaller businesses aren’t.

Pennacchio said he was at the rally to support small businesses and New Jersey students. The rally was Monday, a day before the governor announced that graduation ceremonies with restrictions can take place starting July 6.

State Republicans, who filed suit against Murphy’s shut down executive orders last week, have been getting increasingly critical as the impact of the pandemic continues to lessen. New cases, deaths, and
hospitalizations have been steadily decreasing the last few weeks.

A number of polls have shown that about 70 percent of residents approve of the steps the governor has taken. Polls can change, but aside from that, Pennacchio says government is not merely about polls,
but leadership, which he sees lacking in Trenton.

As to the state’s overall COVID-19 response, Murphy more than once – and again today – has said that he supports  a thorough review of how the state has reacted.

But not yet.

The governor says this is not the time for a post-mortem, because the pandemic is not over. “We’re still working 24/7 to save lives,” he said. “That has to be job number one.”

The state’s virus death toll is now 11,191 and there are 155,764 cases. He said starting a review now would have been like reviewing America’s World War II performance in 1943.

Still, the progress the state has made prompted the governor to make his graduation announcement, adding that details about capacity limiits would be unveiled Wednesday. He hinted that large graduating
classes likely will need more than one ceremony.

There really isn’t a great amout of difference between having graduation ceremonies in early July as opposed to late June, especially considering the circumstances. But you know this move will be criticized.

Yet, in a statement few sensible people could quibble with, Murphy observed that those graduating this year, will have an experience “no one will ever forget.”

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