If you live in New Jersey and disagree with Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 policies, he has one piece of advice for you: move. Murphy also appears to think that 15,684 deaths is preferable to 3,132, because he derisively compared Georgia’s coronavirus policies to his own to deflect criticism for his poor leadership.
New Jersey’s thin-skinned Democrat governor does not want to be held responsible for his bad coronavirus policies. Murphy was one of only five governors who forced COVID patients to return to nursing homes, a mistake that cost hundreds of lives. New Jersey is one of the hardest-hit states for coronavirus, with the second most cases per capita after New York and the fifth most total cases after New York, California, Texas, and Florida.
During a press conference on Friday, Murphy snapped at reporters questioning his slow reopening of the state and poor handling of the pandemic, saying, “If you don’t like our leadership here, why don’t you go down to Georgia and see how that feels.”
This is not the first time Murphy has advocated departing from New Jersey if you disagree with his policies. In 2019, he was reported as having said, “If you’re a one-issue voter and tax rate is your issue, either a family or a business, if that’s the only basis upon which you’re going to make a decision, we’re probably not your state.”
Likewise, just this May, he told New Jerseyans who disliked how Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo handled the pandemic-related unemployment crisis that “All I would say to anyone who thinks that: Go to another state.”
Clearly, Murphy does not think of himself as the governor of the entire state of New Jersey, just the faction that agrees with his policies. Rather than accept criticism, or attempt to govern in a way that doesn’t cause such strife, his solution is for anyone who doesn’t like him to leave.
Those unhappy with New Jersey’s disappointing and dangerous leadership may in fact prefer to move to Georgia, contrary to what Murphy believes. By almost every available metric, Georgia is a safer state in regards to COVID than New Jersey.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, New Jersey has currently lost 15,684 lives to the Wuhan virus, compared to Georgia facing 3,132 deaths, which is more than 10,000 fewer. New Jersey is also worse per capita than Georgia in COVID deaths, with respectively 176.1 and 29.8 deaths for every 100,000 people.
New Jersey has also seen more cases, with 176,551 total, or 1,981.8 for every 100,000 people. Georgia currently has 135,183 cases, or 1,285.1 per 100,000 people.
Murphy’s choice of Georgia has less to do with their superior numbers, and more to do with the tension between Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R). Kemp alleged that Bottoms’s mask mandate and attempts to slow Atlanta’s reopening undercut his executive orders that prevented cities from unilaterally requiring masks, leading Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to sue.