WATCH: Vittert Challenges Christie Spox on Gov's Controversial Beach Trip
Leland Vittert challenged Chris Christie's spokesman on why the New Jersey governor went to a beach that is closed to the public due to a state government shutdown.
The Republican governor, whose approval sunk to 15 percent in a recent poll, earned widespread criticism after photos surfaced of the Christie family enjoying the deserted beach.
PHOTOS: Christie, family soak up sun on N.J. beach he closed to public https://t.co/cK4Thptfdq
— The Star-Ledger (@starledger) July 3, 2017
The family was spotted in an area of Island Beach State Park in Berkeley Township, where the governor has a residence.
Christie has blamed state legislators for the budget stalemate and subsequent shutdown, which shuttered nonessential services including state parks.
"I didn’t get any sun," Christie told reporters before the photos came out.
On "America's News HQ," Vittert asked Christie's press secretary Brian Murray about his earlier statement that the governor "did not get any sun" because he had a baseball hat on.
Murray said that comment was a "joke" to one reporter and pointed out that the vast majority of New Jersey beaches are still open.
"I understand the spin," said Vittert.
Murray said it's a fact, not spin, but Vittert brought up the fact that 35,000 state workers won't get paychecks and some courts are closed.
"You want to talk optics and that's all you have," said Murray, adding that the state legislature never presented a budget for Christie to sign.
Murray insisted the governor was only on the beach for 45 minutes.
Vittert said Christie's sunbathing trip has now made it harder to get a budget passed and will put him in a worse negotiating position, but Murray would not concede that point.
The budget stalemate came after Christie demanded a restructuring of the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
Watch the full compelling interview above.