Gov. Chris Christie is taking heat for spending a night in the governor's residences at the state-owned Island Beach State Park less than 24 hours after ordering the closure of all of New Jersey's state parks and beaches due to an ongoing budget stalemate.
The state keeps a residence made for the governor's personal use. But as citizens were being turned away from the many amenities of the beach, the governor couldn't escape questions about it.
"The governor has a residence at Island Beach. Others don't," Christie said. "Run for governor and you can have the residence."
The beach house has been available to New Jersey governors since 1950.
It's another moment of political optics on a beach that are likely to upset his base and his critics alike.
In 2012, Republicans were furious at the New Jersey governor as he cooperated in a photo-op with then-President Barack Obama, as the two leaders toured the beaches of New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated the Garden State. The episode was later jokingly referred to as "Hug-gate."
In this newest flap, Christie added the arguments against him using the house were wrong, claiming that he wasn't using any "services."
The Republican governor returned to the statehouse Sunday to call legislators back for a special session dedicated to finding a budget compromise, but will return to spend the night at the beach house again Sunday night.
While most state services are shut down through the state, Christie did sign a state of emergency declaration that kept essential services like state police, correctional facilities, and hospitals funded and running, according to CNN.