The Democrat governor of New Jersey had an ultimatum for residents of the Garden State who weren't pleased with his draconian shutdown orders. In New Jersey, where cases of the novel Chinese coronavirus have eclipsed many other states since the start of the pandemic, the governor has kept the people of his state on a short leash.
New Jersey has been the site of many rallies and protests against orders that kept businesses locked down and people at home. The science, protesters asserted, simply didn't support the job and economy killing measures Murphy has continued to order.
Like several other states that have followed intense shutdown protocol since March, New Jersey's crippling measures did not seem to make the mortality rate nor the number of cases any better. In fact, just like neighboring New York, New Jersey is under fire for putting COVID-19 infected patients into nursing homes which caused massive spread and mortalities among older patients.
Now that there are reports of spikes in southern states like Georgia and Florida, Murphy, like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, have chosen to take the low road and excoriate those parts of the country. Murphy took that rhetoric to the next level this weekend, saying any citizens of New Jersey dissatisfied with the ongoing shutdowns should think of relocating.
"If you don’t like our leadership here, why don’t you go down to Georgia and see how that feels?" Murphy said to reporters at a Friday press conference. The governor was responding to questions about whether he felt that his reopening plans and rolled back pandemic liberation was too slow for the state.
Georgia has, in fact, seen a recent uptick in cases. But the comparison to Gov. Brian Kemp's handling of the crisis and devastating effect on the state cannot be compared to the calamity seen in New Jersey. Even with the rise in cases of COVID-19 in Georgia, the state has had just over 3,000 deaths since the beginning of the crisis. New Jersey has seen more than five times that many deaths, with almost 16,000 now dead from the virus.
Residents of New Jersey and other states that have maintained strict shutdowns have consistently expressed their displeasure, saying that the science does not back up continued closure of businesses and the restricted ability to live life as normal. Leaders like Murphy, Cuomo, and other Democrat governors like Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Gavin Newsom of California, have been chided repeatedly for abusing their COVID-19 emergency power and crushing their own states' economies.
Only Murphy, however, has actually invited the people of his state to leave. His Friday sentiment echoes a similar comment made in May when he told residents disillusioned with the economic crisis and sluggish job recovery plan amid the pandemic to pack up and leave if they were so unhappy.
"All I would say to anyone who thinks that, go to another state," he said following criticism of his appointed Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo's response to the statewide job crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic isn't even the first occasion in which Murphy spoke out against vocal dissent among his own constituents. Last year, he told New Jersey voters that considered low taxes to be a political priority that "we’re probably not your state."