Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the hospitalization a precautionary measure given his asthma history.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy blasted President Donald Trump as “reckless” on Monday for coming to the state last week even though one of his top aides had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Murphy also said his administration is investigating whether the Thursday fundraising event at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster violated the governor’s executive orders by exceeding capacity limits and providing a buffet meal to the 206 attendees.

Murphy offered well-wishes to Trump over the weekend, who remained hospitalized with COVID-19 after announcing he tested positive early Friday morning — just hours after the New Jersey event. But on Monday, Murphy let loose on the president, his aides and others who knew senior adviser Hope Hicks was COVID-positive before the event on Thursday. 

Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo: ~File)

“It is clear that the president and staff behaved recklessly in coming to New Jersey in the first place knowing that they had been exposed to someone with a confirmed positive test,” Murphy said during a briefing Monday.

“It’s the last thing we need,” he said. 

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‘Nobody should have come to New Jersey’

Murphy administration officials said they received reports that too many people were allowed to attend the event. No more than 150 people or 25% of a venue’s capacity are allowed indoors under Murphy’s executive order to stem the spread of the virus.

The governor said there were reports of a buffet at the event, which also violates an executive order on communal meals.

“The actions leading up to and during this event have put lives at risk,” Murphy said, emphasizing the 19 golf club staffers who worked the fundraiser. 

Murphy made rounds Monday morning on several national television programs criticizing Trump for coming to New Jersey on Thursday when a top aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive earlier in the day.

“Nobody should have come to New Jersey,” Murphy said. “I hope it’s a wake-up call.”

“If you think you’ve been in touch or in the midst of someone who is COVID-positive, you’ve got to take yourself off the field,” he said. “This borders on reckless in terms of exposing people.”

The White House and Trump’s medical team created confusion over the weekend as to when Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Trump tweeted at 1 a.m. Friday that he was COVID-positive, hours after he attended the New Jersey fundraiser.

But Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, told reporters Saturday morning that the president was “72 hours into the diagnosis.”

That would place his diagnosis on Wednesday morning before the trip to New Jersey. The White House put out a statement later in the day in which Conley said he misspoke and meant the president was in “day three” of the diagnosis.

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Other Democrats blasted Trump for the visit, especially the danger presented to the 19 staff members, all of whom live in New Jersey and may not have the same type of access to quality healthcare that the president, his aides and those who paid top dollar to attend the fundraiser likely do.

Trump has “gotten top-tier care at taxpayer expense, was monitored at all hours, and had access to rapid test results – something not guaranteed to the wait staff, bartenders and others staff,” said U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey. “With the Senate still unwilling to strike a deal for frontline workers like these, its folks who were in that space by necessity, rather than by invitation, who were the most at-risk and least protected. They didn’t get to choose.”

Contributing: Dustin Racioppi,; The Associated Press.

Follow reporter Scott Fallon on Twitter: @newsfallon 

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