LOOK: Chris Christie Lounges on NJ Beach Closed to the Public
It appears that life's a beach for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie...
Christie and about a dozen friends and family had Island Beach State Park in Berkeley Township all to themselves Sunday afternoon after he shut it down because of the state's budget standoff.
Aerial photos by NJ Advance Media show Christie lounging in a chair with a shirt and baseball cap on.
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
During a news conference on Saturday, Christie defended his right to stay in the park, even if no one else can visit.
“That’s because the governor has a residence at Island Beach. Others don’t,” Christie said. “It’s just the way it goes. Run for governor and then you can have the residence.”
Patrick Griffin, a former adviser to President George H.W. Bush, said this doesn't look very good for Christie public relations-wise.
He pointed out that Christie was once seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, but his approval numbers have dropped in New Jersey and he was passed over for a job in the Trump administration.
"And now here we go with his feet in the sand on Fourth of July [weekend] when he's supposed to be negotiating a budget deal," Griffin said. "It's very bad box office and worse optics."
Former Obama adviser David Tafuri said the worst part of the story is that Christie initially lied during a Sunday press conference about not spending any time in the sun.
After being told about the NJ Advance Media photos, Christie spokesman Brian Murray acknowledged the governor had spent time on the beach.
"Yes, the governor was on the beach briefly today, talking to his wife and family before heading into the office. He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on," Murray said.
Tafuri called it a "pretty lame excuse," and suggested that Christie doesn't have much of a political future.
"No one's really going to trust him as a national figure anymore," Tafuri said.
Watch more above.