(CNN) - While New Jersey remains blanketed in snow, Gov. Chris Christie's staff is defending his trip to Disney World with his family that left control of the crisis in the hands of the Senate president.
Following local criticism, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak mounted a forceful response to defend the Republican governor.
"It was Christmas week; his kids were home from school. It was a family vacation," Drewniak said in an e-mail. "The response to the storm has been the same as it would be under any circumstances."
Christie left Sunday – the day the storm started – for a vacation in Florida at Disney World, and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno left for Mexico before the storm hit. State Sen. Stephen Sweeney took the oath to become acting governor Sunday before declaring a state of emergency.
But New Jersey state representatives were critical of the situation that left the state's top executives out of the Garden State as it reacted to a blizzard that dumped two to three feet of snow throughout the region.
"We clearly made a mistake if we created the office lieutenant governor and wasted money if the lieutenant governor is not going to be here when the governor is out of state," state Democratic Sen. Raymond Lesniak told the New Jersey Star Ledger. "It's being handled very well by Sen. Sweeney, but you have to really question the purpose of the office."
The state legislature created the office of lieutenant governor in 2005, and the position was on the ballot in 2009. Guadagno won the election and took the oath of office in January.
Drewniak said the governor is in touch with his staff and that Sweeney is in regular contact with Christie's senior staff.
"This was definitely a big snow, but we are a northeastern state, and we get plenty of snow, including heavy hits like this," Drewniak said.
He acknowledged this is not the "most ideal situation," but said Christie is scheduled to return to the state on Thursday.