Gov. Phil Murphy chided Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) after the Republican lawmaker suggested he should quarantine after attending President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“I’d not seen that. He should look carefully at what the rules of the road are,” Murphy said at Friday’s virus briefing.
On Thursday, Webber asked if Murphy would follow the state’s quarantine order, which now applies to non-transient travel to every state in the nation save its New Jersey’s neighbors, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
“Is he yet again thumbing his nose at the rest of New Jersey while he forces his rules on them?” Webber said Thursday. “And if the governor does quarantine, unnecessarily restricting his own ability to oversee and manage the state’s affairs, was it really worth it while he needs to fix his stumbling vaccination rollout and protect lives and livelihoods that are literally at stake?”
But the quarantine order has carveouts for those who travel out of state and return in less than 24 hours, though such travel is still discouraged.
Murphy’s trip to Washington would fall under that exception.
“With all due respect to Assemblyman Webber, we see it differently, and that’s based on the facts,” Murphy said.
The governor on Friday said he was tested for COVID-19 in New Jersey on Monday and again in Washington on Tuesday.
“I would argue, I think without much controversy, that a governor has every right to be present at the inauguration of the president of the United States,” he said.
Webber called Murphy’s response “unacceptable.”
“How many of us skipped holidays with loved one because (the) governor said that was not essential, and therefore subject to quarantines or outright bans?” Webber asked. “There’s a big difference between a politician Wanting to go to an Inaugural, and everyday people Needing to be with our loved ones.”
This story was updated at 4:46 PM with comment from Webber.