Gov. Phil Murphy derided Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Steinhardt for calling on Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli’s resignation over a missed deadline that delayed vaccinations for residents of the state’s long-term care centers.
“The last thing we need when people who don’t know what they’re talking about from the cheap seats,” he said when asked about the former Republican state chairman’s comments at Monday’s virus briefing.
The state missed the Dec. 7 deadline to input data on all of the state’s long-term care facilities by a day, delaying the start date for vaccinations in those settings from Dec. 21 to Dec. 28.
New Jersey asked the federal government to be allowed to start those vaccinations on the earlier date but was denied.
Steinhardt, in response, called for accountability.
“My seat may not be as expensive as @GovMurphy’s, but the lives of our loved ones in #NJ nursing homes are anything but ‘cheap,'” Steinhardt said on Twitter. “We deserve accountability. Governor Murphy deflects.”
Murphy’s handling of the virus in long-term care centers has long been a target for Republican criticisms.
Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Steinhardt’s chief competitor for the Republican gubernatorial nod, has made similar attacks in the past, though he called for the governor to resign instead of Persichilli.
This story was updated with comment from Steinhardt at 2:53 p.m.