New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that the scandal last month in which he was photographed on a public beach that he himself had closed as part of a government shut down — an event that turned Christie into a viral meme — “hurt” his children.
“They were more hurt by this latest episode than they’ve been hurt by anything else that has happened in the eight years and they don’t understand people’s unfairness and, quite frankly, their ignorance,” an apparently unrepentant Christie said during a New Jersey radio show, according to NJ.com.
Christie had closed all state-controlled beaches and parks for the Fourth of July weekend after the state legislature was unable to reach a budget agreement. However, his tough stance backfired spectacularly when the governor and his family were pictured sunning themselves on a public beach outside the governor’s residence by a helicopter rented out by NJ Advance Media.
Christie was widely criticized for his tone-deaf move, and to make matters worse, the image of Christie in a t-shirt and baseball cap, sunning himself in a deckchair, quickly became a viral sensation — with keen Photoshoppers placing the relaxing governor in a wide range of unlikely spots.
— Russ Alberts (@yournameisruss) July 3, 2017
— Shelly Splainin’ 🙋🏻♀️ (@sheLLbeLL_xo) July 13, 2017
— MaverickCtzn (@MaverickCtzn) July 12, 2017
But Christie said his children blamed themselves, and he had to correct them to remind them they weren’t to blame for his political faux pas.
“They came to me and said, ‘It’s our fault, we should have just told you that we would have just told all of our friends to go away.’ And I said to them, no, this was my decision. You’re not the adult. I am,” he said.
Christie was once one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, winning in a deep blue state and then winning re-election. But a series of gaffes at home and on the national stage, as well as the 2013 ‘Bridgegate’ scandal in which members of his staff closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge to hurt a political rival, has sent his popularity plunging to historic lows — almost certainly guaranteeing a Democrat will replace him when his term is up in 2018.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY