New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that he understands people are stressed out because of the harsh measures he’s imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but he doesn’t believe some matters are up for debate.
Murphy was dining with his family recently when he was confronted by several people who hurled expletives at him.
“There’s no reason we should be having a political discussion about whether you’re wearing a mask. We were dining outdoors in the middle of our meal. I’m a big guy, I could take it, my wife could take it. I’d prefer folks to be more civil and to leave our kids out of this. But I completely get the stress,” Murphy, a Democrat, said during a virtual appearance on “CBS This Morning.”
“The stress levels are exceptionally high. You’ve lost a job, you’ve lost a business, you’ve lost a loved one. I can’t blame folks for being stressful. I just would preach that we got to try to find ways to come together, hunker down. This is it forever and for always. We’ve got a tough few months in front of us, but we’re gonna get through this. We just got to do it together.”
Murphy said he and his family kept eating dinner after the confrontation.
Video captured of the incident showed several people walking by Murphy when they realized who it was.
“You’re such a [expletive],” one woman said. “You having fun with your family? In the meantime, you’re having all kind of other [expletive] going on.”
One of Murphy’s party asked the women to put their masks on despite none of the family wearing masks. They all appeared to be eating.
One of the sons then said he liked one of the woman’s Trump phone case. “That’s who Trump likes, he likes my dad,” he said. “No, he doesn’t like your dad,” the woman rejoined.
Murphy told reporters during a press conference on Monday that the women left after a person who was with them led them away. He said the situation unfolded in Red Bank on Saturday night.
“I’m a big boy, thick skin. That doesn’t impact me at all and I think I could say the same thing for my wife. I would say this though. Our kids are not part of that, and so that’s one observation,” he said, adding: “I don’t even know who these people were, by the way.”
Murphy over the weekend signed an executive order extending the public health emergency declared over the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, he has forced some businesses to close or curtail their hours and mandated everybody in the state to wear masks and social distance while outside their home.