New Jersey governor Phil Murphy’s decision to invite a Democratic congressman involved in a tough reelection battle to speak at his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday angered Republicans who accused the governor to mix essential news with partisan politics.
A Murphy spokesperson said that all members of the New Jersey federal delegation – Republicans and Democrats – were invited to attend the briefings.
First-year representative Tom Malinowski spoke for about 10 minutes at Monday’s briefing in Trenton, and criticized Senate majority chief Mitch McConnell for opposing what the Kentucky Republican called “bailouts” of the blue state ”.
Malinowski noted that New Jersey consistently pays more federal tax than it receives in funding – about 90 cents on the dollar – while McConnell’s home state gets more funding than it pays of taxes. New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country, and the central district of Malinowski is one of the wealthiest in the state.
“This is about the survival of small town America. And at the end of the day, I don’t know if Mitch McConnell wants to be the person responsible for telling a small town in America to go to hell. This is what it is doing right now, “said Malinowski, who said he was sponsoring a bill that would provide $ 500 billion in relief for state and local governments.
McConnell said last week that he would rather see states go bankrupt than give them a federal bailout, calling the Democratic states in particular irresponsible spenders and calling the demand for federal funding “bailouts by the blue state.”
While Malinowski accused McConnell of injecting partisan politics into a non-partisan issue, Phil Valenziano, executive director of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, took Twitter to denounce “the shameful and hyper-partisan political attacks launched by Malinowski during an official briefing”.
Malinowski, who defeated former Republican representative Leonard Lance in 2018, is expected to face Senate minority leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union) in November. The race is considered one of the most competitive in the state.
Harrison Neely, spokesperson for Kean and the Republican State Committee, called Malinowski’s appearance at Monday’s briefing “a shameful demonstration of partisan politics”.
This is not the first time Murphy has welcomed a vulnerable first-year holder, Democratic House, to one of his daily briefings. Earlier this month, representative Andy Kim (DN.J.) attended a briefing during which he criticized the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to set up a coronavirus testing site in southern Jersey.
Kim’s appearance didn’t get much attention from Republicans.
“We have extended an open invitation to all members of our congressional delegation, both Democratic and Republican, to attend the governor’s daily briefing on coronaviruses,” Murphy spokesman Mahen Gunaratna said in a statement.
“To this day, senator [Cory] Booker, Congressman [Josh] Gottheimer, Congressman Kim and Congressman Malinowski have joined, “said Gunaratna.
Booker, Gottheimer, Kim and Malinowski are all Democrats. There are only two Republicans in the New Jersey Congress delegation – representatives Chris Smith and Jeff Van Drew. In December, Van Drew changed party from Democrat to Republican.