New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has fallen under harsh criticism after posing for a photo last week with a cardboard cutout of Gov. Chris Christie lounging on a closed beach last summer after a government shutdown.
Murphy took the picture at a gala held Thursday night by the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, a group who has criticized Christie in the past. When asked about the photo-op, Murphy told the NJ Advance Media that he was standing next to the cutout and just “couldn’t resist.”
“It was right in front of me!” he told the paper.
Christie came under fire this past summer after images surfaced of him lounging in a chair with his family on a beach that he had closed to the public over the Fourth of July weekend because of a government shutdown.
During his campaign, Murphy said on multiple campaign stops "We will not go to the beach ourselves," referring to the incident that became known as ‘beachgate’.
Christie spoke out on Murphy’s recent photo-op calling it “disappointing.”
“We've been so open and so welcoming to him,” he said. "I just think it sends a really terrible message to people about if you say you want to bring people together and do all the rest of that, then what you should want to do is focus on the future and not be looking at the past."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.