New Jersey’s public health crisis has produced what may be one of the strangest political romances the state has ever seen.
Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who before the coronavirus held himself out as a sort of anti-Trump, has for the last two months praised the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as he’s sought ventilators, equipment and billions in federal funds.
Trump has praised Murphy as well, including during gubernatorial visit last month to the White House. But on Friday, Trump took his praise of the governor to a new platform: A local radio program that bashes Murphy on a daily basis.
During a 10-minute call with conservative NJ 101.5 host Bill Spadea, Trump called Murphy a “good governor.”
“He’s working very hard, I will say. He’s very liberal,” the president said. “And you’re not there and I’m not there, but he’s trying. He is trying very hard.”
NJ 101.5, which is heavy on opinion but includes straight news reporters as well, features hours of talk radio every day that’s highly critical of the governor. At least one of its other hosts also promotes anti-vaccination rhetoric and the station’s website touted a recently debunked coronavirus conspiracy theory.
Trump spent much of the call advocating for reopening businesses around the country. Murphy recently began easing restrictions put in place in mid-March, allowing “non-essential” businesses to open for curb-side pickup and re-opening beaches in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Spadea, a former Republican congressional and state Assembly candidate who frequently praises Trump and offers daily criticism of Murphy, during the conversation briefly accused Murphy of “taking advantage” of fear over the coronavirus, but did not challenge the president’s praise of the governor.
“I’m with you 100 percent,” Spadea told Trump shortly before the conversation ended.
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Friedman