Joe Biden still has not spoken to the governor of the state with the second-largest number of deaths related to COVID-19.
“We were intended to have gotten together on a call I think last Friday … and that’s trying to be rescheduled as we speak,” Gov. Phil Murphy said when asked if he had spoken to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee about the pandemic. “So not yet, but we are in the process on that.”
Murphy’s answer is largely unchanged from April 7, when he said he had not spoken with Biden or U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was then still seeking the Democratic nod to take on President Donald Trump.
Murphy and Trump speak regularly on video teleconference calls. Murphy is also in constant contact with Vice President Mike Pence.
Last week, the governor traveled down to Washington for a friendly meeting with the president.
“You’d think Joe Biden would have the Democratic governors on speed dial at this point,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “No office is more politically vital right now. It’s pretty curious for them to not have connected by now.”
Murphy, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, signed an executive order declaring a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency on March 9, enacted aggressive social distancing guidelines on March 16, and ordered the closing of all public schools on March 18.
New Jersey has had 130,593 residents test positive for COVID-19 and 8,244 have died, Murphy announced today.
A Monmouth University poll released last month pegged Murphy’s approval rating at 71%, the highest marks a New Jersey governor has received since Gov. Thomas H. Kean was in office.