Home>Campaigns>Assembly Republicans, angry over Murphy giving spotlight to Malinowski, will meet this afternoon to discuss governor’s partisanship

Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Assembly Republicans, angry over Murphy giving spotlight to Malinowski, will meet this afternoon to discuss governor’s partisanship

On governor’s press briefing, state GOP executive director asks ‘Is this a campaign event?’

By David Wildstein, April 27 2020 2:15 pm

Assembly Republicans are ripping mad over Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to showcase Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) at his press conference today, will meet remotely later this afternoon to discuss GOP pushback to the governor’s politics and partisanship, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

One leading Republican lawmaker said that Murphy’s decision to include Democratic congressmen in “tough, competitive races” smacks of politics.

Rep. Andy Kim (D-Ringoes) was at Murphy’s April 9 press briefing.  U.S. Senator Cory Booker also attended a Murphy briefing.

Murphy has gained an increasingly heavy audience for his briefings, with some television networks carrying them live.

Malinowski took on President Donald Trump and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his statement at today’ briefing.

“This is about the survival of small town America, and at the end of the day, I don’t know if Mitch McConnell wants to be the person who is responsible for telling small town America to go to hell,” he said.

On social media, the issue is already receiving some buzz among Republicans,

“Shameful hyper-partisan political attacks launched by Malinowski at an official briefing,” said Phil Valenziano, the executive director of the New Jersey Republican State Committee. “Is this a campaign event?”

Even one of the reporters who covers Murphy weighed in on the controversy.

“Candidly, I’m not sure why people running for re-election to Congress have been invited to talk at these briefings while reporters are told to limit (questions because) of time constraints,” the Star-Ledger’s Matt Arco said on twitter.

Michael Zhadanovsky, a Murphy aide, pushed back on Arco’s claims in a tweet,  saying that today’s “briefing ran for about an hour and 40 minutes, completely in line with the other briefings that we hold 6 days a week.”

“The Governor, and the other officials almost always run through most, if not all questions,” Zhadanovsky said.

Murphy declined to answer an unusually large number of questions today, pushing them off to his communications team for a later response.

Assembly Republicans are also planning to discuss their response to Murphy’s economic comeback plan during their conference call later.

The Democratic State Committee issued a statement late Monday defending Murphy, the titular head of the New Jersey Democratic Party.

“Governor Murphy has consistently put solutions ahead of politics throughout this crisis and he continues to work closely with the White House to protect our state, so it is absurd for New Jersey Republicans to characterize his actions as political while they simultaneously plot against him on a partisan conference call. Congressman Malinowski is doing his job and fighting for his district and the state by staying in touch with the people he serves and reporting to them. It is truly absurd to suggest that Congressman Malinowski should be silent while New Jersey is being attacked by Mitch McConnell,” said Saily Avelenda, the executive director.  “The real problem here is that Trenton Republicans, starting with Tom Kean, Jr., won’t stand up to their Washington counterparts even when they called for New Jersey to go bankrupt. Yet again, Trenton Republicans would rather roll over for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell than stand up for New Jersey.”

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