Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has responded to backlash over photos of him lounging on a beach he had shut down after the state failed to agree on a budget.
Christie said he had already announced his plans to vacation at the governor's mansion regardless of the budget outcome, the Daily Mail reports.
He added the media had merely "caught a politician keeping his word."
"They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and children and their friends," Christie said in a WNYW interview, laughing off reports from The Star-Ledger.
"The governor has two residences in New Jersey," he added. "One down at the beach, at Island Beach State Park, and one at Drumthwacket, which also is in Princeton. 'The governor is allowed to go to his residences and I'm at my residences. I'll tell you this, I said last Monday, a week ago today, that no matter what happens, we were coming here as a family this weekend."
Christie outraged many with the pictures depicting his family lounging on the tax-funded beach while the public was forced to go elsewhere.
"Taxpayers can't use the parks and other public sites they pay for, but he and his family can hang out at a beach that no one else can use?" asked one New Jersey resident. "Doesn't he realize how that looks, how people will see it as a slap in the face?"
He upset people further when he later told the press he "didn't get any sun" that day, despite photos showing otherwise.
His spokesmen attempted to clarify Christie's meaning.
"Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today talking to his wife and family before heading into the office," said his spokesman, Brian Murray, reports NJ.com. "He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on."
Regardless of his explanation, many are still upset.
"If the public can't use the beach, neither should the governor," wrote one Daily Mail reader. "Shame on Chris Christie, and I say that as a Republican."
However, some can understand Christie's point of view, at least to some extent..
"I'm sure I'll be downvoted for stating facts, but the Governor of NJ has a residence on the state beach," one reader wrote. "While optically it may appear hypocritical at face value (which is why the media are going crazy), he has the right to be at his own residency. If he cared about optics at all, he would have stayed more or less inside, but I don't get the sense he cares anymore."