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

Murphy defends Trump dinner

By Nikita Biryukov, June 15 2020 6:43 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy isn’t apologizing for a dinner meeting with President Donald Trump.

“I don’t get the luxury of waking up and choosing which president on that day that I can deal with, which administration. He is the president of the United States,” Murphy said. “On something like portal, on something like COVID-19, on our economic recovery, there’s one federal government. There’s one administration.”

Murphy dined with Trump at the latter’s Bedminster golf club Friday evening.

That dinner came as Trump faced widespread criticism over his response to nationwide protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Floyd was killed after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned his neck underneath a knee for nearly nine minutes.

The federal government can’t be replaced, Murphy said.

“They play an existential role that no other player can play, and we need to be able to find that common ground with a passion just as intense as the passion to stand our ground and not pull punches on areas where we’re not going to see things the same way,” he said.

Murphy said he attempted to push Trump on the removal of statues depicting confederate generals and army bases named after them, though Murphy was handed an apparent victory after Trump tweeted his support for fully funding the federal portion of costs associated with the Portal Bridge.

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