New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pummeled U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today for suggesting that states might be better off declaring bankruptcies as way of dealing with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Come on, man, that is completely and utterly irresponsible. There’s no level of responsibility associated with that and I don’t care what party you’re in,” said an unusually agitated Murphy during his daily COVID-19 press briefing. “Encouraging, engendering, explicitly almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest health care crisis this country has ever faced is completely and utterly irresponsible.”
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s syndicated radio show today, McConnell said that he “would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route.”
“It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available,” McConnell said.
Murphy, who rarely shows extreme anger in public, pounded McConnell.
“I’m taken aback, my breath is taken away, I have almost nothing to say,” Murphy said. “Really? This is the time, in a moment of crisis unlike any our country has faced in at least 100 years, to suggest it’s a good thing to suggest that stakes can go bankrupt?”
The governor said his attack on McConnell was not meant to be partisan.
“If the words were spoken by a Democrat, I would be equally as forceful,” he said. “As usual, he’s dead wrong, cause that won’t happen. We won’t go bankrupt. You have my word we won’t go bankrupt.”
Murphy said that government bankruptcies would “gut the living daylights in every state in America out of the services, the exact services, that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut.”
“We won’t go bankrupt, Senator. But We will leave our citizens in a lurch at their most profound hour of need. We will leave people on the beach, alone, helpless, that is what will happen in New Jersey,” he stated.
And Murphy, on the heels of a 71% approval rating in his home state and a newly-found national television following, sent a clear message to the voters of Kentucky, where McConnell is locked in a tight re-election campaign against Democrat Amy McGrath.
“That will happen in Kentucky. You have my word. So watch your words, sir,” Murphy asserted. “This is no time for wishing bankruptcies.”
Murphy made his comments during a pitch for direct financial assistance to states in the next federal stimulus bill.
“This is the time for the federal government – and I was encouraged by what President Trump tweeted yesterday and we’re going to hold the federal government to this — to stand up on a bi-partisan basis and be there for the states in America -not just for the state’s sake but for the American people,” Murphy said in a plea aimed directly at McConnell. “Please, god.”