New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was photographed relaxing on a New Jersey beach that has been closed to the public amidst a government shut down. Christie was at the empty beach with his family over the weekend.

The photos, taken aerially by The Star-Ledger of New Jersey, show the former candidate for president of the U.S. taking in the sun with his family at Island Beach State Park, the official governor’s retreat.

Due to budget standoff in New Jersey’s legislative body, the beach has been closed to the public over the holiday weekend. Christie was adamant in defense of his and his family’s use of the beach.

When asked by reporters if the vacation was insensitive, considering the heightened political tension of the time, Christie said, “That’s just the way it goes. Run for governor and you can have a residence.”

He also defended the vacation on television to Fox-5 News New York.

“The governor is allowed to go to his residences, and I’m at my residences,” Christie said while calling into the station.

“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. … This is one of the places we live.”

He also sarcastically praised the New Jersey paper that captured the images saying that he is “sure they will get a Pulitzer for this one.”

Many online were quick to ridicule Christie’s use of the beach closed by the very government he is the executive of.

“The image of a grotesque Chris Christie sunning himself on an empty state beach he closed is an evocative metaphor for our era of politics,” tweeted a user named Dan O’Sulliv.

“Just look at us! Right and left. Conservative and liberal. All coming together to bash Chris Christie. We are truly one America,” wrote Twitter user Marie Connor.

Christie ordered the shutdown this past Friday after the State Assembly failed to pass the state budget by the July 1 deadline. The standoff is centered around Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurance provider, which Christie wants reformed.

He has agreed to sign the budget without eliminating $300 million from Democratic policies so far as Horizon be reformed. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D) has refused to reform Horizon and has been blamed by Christie for the shutdown.

The shutdown has affected over 30,000 state workers, all of whom have been furloughed by the weekend’s end. State parks, beaches,and Motor Vehicle Commission offices have also been closed as a result of the budget disagreement.

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