Gov. Phil Murphy condemned State Senator Michael Doherty (R-Oxford) over comments the Republican made at a 9/11 ceremony claiming systemic racism did not exist and charging Black Lives Matter was a Marxist organization.
“To deny systemic racism … on any day that is not on. It is completely in the face of the overwhelming facts that are centuries old, never mind saying that on 9/11, which just takes your breath away,” Murphy said, adding that he had not heard Doherty’s comments in full. “I don’t know what country or what state he’s looking at, but it’s not the reality that exists.”
In a roughly 10-minute-long speech at a 9/11 memorial ceremony in Flemington Friday morning, Doherty praised first responders then moved into an indictment of protests over police killings of George Floyd and other black individuals.
He claimed systemic racism did not exist, citing President Barack Obama’s election and social programs that supported city residents.
He further charged that Black Lives Matter was a Marxist organization and claimed the Defund the Police movement was meant to destabilize the country.
Murphy, quite bluntly, disagreed.
“Sadly, and with the heaviest of hearts, notwithstanding that we are the greatest nation on earth —which we are — we are far from perfect and we continue to dig out every single day from the stain of racism that exists very much in our country and in our state,” the governor said.
The senator’s comments have already become something of a bludgeon for Democrats. In a debate Sunday night, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) pressed Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) on Doherty’s comments.