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Gov. Phil Murphy with a cut out of former Gov. Chris Christie.

Murphy fires back at Christie after long-term care criticism

By Nikita Biryukov, August 10 2020 3:00 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy fired back at his predecessor after former Gov. Chris Christie claimed the sitting governor ordered the state’s nursing homes to admit residents who had contracted COVID-19.

“There’s a talking point which sounds really good. Gov. Christie hit this the other day. I would just suggest to him — I know he’s doing really well lobbying on behalf of coronavirus clients — it’s really important to know what the facts are,” Murphy said during Monday’s virus briefing. “Don’t let the facts get in the way, god forbid.”

On Friday, Christie told Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson the state’s nursing homes “were ordered by Governor Phil Murphy to take COVID patients into the nursing homes.”

“It was outrageous,” Christie said. “It was a mistake with monumental, monumental results for the people of our state.”

The attack line is one that New Jersey Republicans have wielded frequently over the past months, though they’ve eased off of it in recent weeks.

Murphy’s administration has long said the order’s critics got it wrong.

“That talking point is myth. It may have happened, but it was completely against our and Judy’s directives,” Murphy said. “So, I would just say to everybody — with all due respect to the Monday morning quarterbacking and color commentary, checking in now and again on a pandemic — this is war morning, noon and night, and it is crystal clear what our directives were as it relates to long-term care and COVID-19 positives, and whether it’s Gov. Christie or any other smart aleck who says it was one thing when it was another, give us a break.”

The April directive issued by Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli required long-term care facilities to readmit residents who had contracted the virus so long as they had been discharged from hospitals.

Under the order, long-term care facilities were supposed to separate those residents from the general population, though not all did.

“Judy was crystal clear — explicit — about any reintroduction of COVID-positive residents into long-term care facilities. It could not have been clearer, and that is cohort, separate into different floors, including staff, different buildings, different wings,” Murphy said. “And by the way, if you do it against our directives, against Judy’s directives, you will pay a price.”

In disclosures submitted last month, Christie’s firm reported earning $240,000 for lobbying President Donald Trump’s administration on behalf of RWJBarnabas, Hackensack Meridian Health, Atlantic Health and Tennessee addiction treatment centers.

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