The usually mild-mannered Murphy almost sounded as biting as former Gov. Chris Christie was during his 8-year run at the Statehouse.
Murphy said during a Facebook Live town hall that Trump is acting like a child “obsessed” with a toy in how he’s handling the partial federal government shutdown, which is now a record 27 days long, with no end in sight.
“President Trump is being blamed for this shutdown,” Murphy said. “And he deserves it. This is ridiculous. It’s juvenile.”
Murphy’s rant was sparked by a resident who asked if New Jersey’s state government will help people living on food stamps if the shutdown drags on. People will stop getting food stamps through the end of February if the shutdown lasts through then.
The governor said the state may “have to step in.”
He then started ripping into Trump, who is seeking $5.7 billion in funding from Congress for a wall along the Mexico border to step illegal immigration. Democratic lawmakers — who control the U.S. House — have refused to grant him the money. That impasse has led to the shutdown.
He stressed that the shutdown is needlessly hurting hundreds of thousands of federal workers when there are “very reasonable people” from both political parties who have “genuinely good ideas” about how to improve border security without having to resort to a wall.
“He literally obsessed like a juvenile — and that’s insulting juveniles — with this wall like it were a toy,” Murphy said. “He’s fighting a war that doesn’t exist.”
“It’s yet another example of awful leadership,” the governor added.
Murphy said the state will do “everything we can to backstop.”
“But I’m pleading with the president to come to his senses and reopen the government,” he concluded.
Polls show majorities of Americans continue to blame on Trump for the shutdown. A PBS Newshour/Marist College survey from Wednesday found 54 percent say Trump is responsible, with only 31 percent blaming congressional Democrats.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s administration issued a bulletin Thursday encouraging insurers, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and other entities regulated by the state Department of Banking and Insurance to work with and assist New Jersey residents affected by the shutdown.
“We do not know when these families will be made whole again,” Murphy said in a statement. “We have to make every effort to minimize the financial impact on our residents who still have to provide for themselves and their families.”
Murphy often criticizes Trump, and his administration has filed numerous lawsuits and backed numerous proposals to fight back against the president’s policies.
But Murphy said Thursday that he does not “take partisan shots for the sake of taking partisan shots.”
NJ Advance Media staff writer Jonathan D. Salant contributed to this report.