New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) lashed out at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Friday after photos surfaced on social media of him attending a New York Young Republicans gala in Jersey City, along with dozens of attendees, in defiance of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“I can't believe this,” he said during a press briefing. “So from the videos on social media and certainly this picture there is no obvious attempt to enforce social distancing or face masks, even though wearing masks indoors in New Jersey is mandatory at organized gatherings when individuals are not eating or drinking.
“It is beyond the pale that anyone would willingly endanger people in another state, never mind their own,” he continued. “It is also beyond the pale that a member of Congress…would participate in this.”
Displaying a photo of the event with the Florida Republican at the center, Murphy referred to him as “the tall handsome fella in the gray suit, that is Representative Matt Putz, sorry Matt Gaetz.”
He called him a “fool” and said all the attendees “should be ashamed of themselves.”
Murphy said Gaetz wasn’t welcome in New Jersey anymore.
“Frankly, I don’t ever want you back in this state,” he added.
The governor said authorities are investigating the event and his office is assisting in any way they can. The restaurant that hosted the event has since been shut down.
It is also beyond the pale that Rep Matt Putz – I mean @RepMattGaetz – would participate in this. What a fool.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 4, 2020
Matt – You are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly I don’t ever want you back in this state. pic.twitter.com/j67x9Z2lAf
Gaetz fired back, telling the governor he was going to "regret" his tweet and thanked him for the compliment.
You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey. https://t.co/zVYjvEYF0I— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 4, 2020
Thank you for calling me handsome, Governor!— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 4, 2020
I’m only considered handsome in New Jersey, though.
In Florida I’m barely a roundup 6. https://t.co/BtyHDflaSM
Project Veritas's James O'Keefe, who attended the gala and won the club's Frédéric René Coudert Jr. Award, also responded to Murphy.
Others reminded the governor of the time when he joined a Black Lives Matter protest, violating social distancing guidelines.
Is this you dude? https://t.co/toZSnxdbkr— Cerno (@Cernovich) December 4, 2020