(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.
It would seem to make sense for the Gov & the Lt Gov to coordinate their vacation plans – not exactly brain science.
Would it have made a difference (and been more politically correct) if Governor Christie was to have vacationed in Hawaii? :O)
He has done some great things for New Jersey, and more than deserves a vacation.
I hear ex-Governor Sarah Palin is looking for work. I'm sure she'd love the view of Russia from New Jersey...
Wow...how does this stuff even make news! the Governor took a vacation like many families during the holidays. NJ gets plenty of snow! Holding whiny politicians hands while snow is dumped on their state should not be a priority for a Gov! Geez...
Nice deal Christie. Been on the job a whole 11 months so it's time for a big vacation. Oh I forgot. It's only an outrage if Obama takes a vacation.
And you are surpried how? Typical politicians! Screw the state and the peopel, it's all about me . . .
Complaining about the most successful and intelligent Governor in New Jersey's history for taking a holiday CHRISTMAS vacation with his family...all while your boy is vacationing in Hawaii on what number vacation is it now? simply....shameful.
This is the most selfish, self-absorbed, greedy (more food, more everything for me) loud mouth, hot air piece of crap that could ever be elected to New Jersey....He's not the person for Jerseyians.
As a resident of NJ, I am no fan of the Gov and did not vote for him. With that said, his critics are reaching with this one. The man went on vacation during a snow storm NOT a terrorist attack. Should he have turned his plane around (during a major storm no less), and held the collective hands of all of New Jersey? Him being here would not have changed anything at all. Sounds like people were jealous that he was off in sunny Florida while we froze our tails off in the Garden State. Good thing I am not the governor because I would told them all to kiss my ass and would stay an extra day or two just because...
The governor and lt. governor made a mistake. They should be willing to admit it and apologize. Governor Christie would not be so lenient if the tables were turned and he was running for governor instead of sitting in the governor's seat.
Politicians have never been taught to say I made a mistake and I am sorry. In this case there were warnings about this storm for over 6 days. Someone in his administration will be the fall guy.
A Governor who cuts a a muiltbillion public investment on the grounds the state can't afford it but then has to pay $300-$400 million to stop the project, and then the dude leaves town to go to Disney Land the day a record snow is on the way. Yeah, that's leadership.
The libs really have it in for this governor mainly because he's competent and has the integrity to go after the fraud in massive entitlement spending! What is shameful is that the very same "victims" who question the governor's vacation planning are the ones that are mute when it comes to our Vacationer-in-Chief and his many, many, many breaks he takes away from Washington!
Stay where you are, Chris Christie....hide at least until the tan fades. Can you imagine? Its going to be fun watching him spin his excuses while sporting a bronzed look. He's not only shirking his responsibilities, hes also a coward probably sporting a hide scrubbed raw by loofah, or bleaching agents. Why no press conference! yet? No press release. Nothing, Florida is not exactly on the other side of the globe....His silence is deafening
These right wing Govs. are a riot. Palin squawks about personal responsibility and quits. Christie makes an artform out of scapegoating and then paints a huge target on his back. The emperor has no clothes.
While it is an over reach to slam Christie for his vacation, it is not to also slam the Lt. Governor ALSO taking the same week off as vacation.
The whole point of the Lt. Governor is take over when the Governor is out of pocket. I agree, that if this how the state of NJ uses the Lt. Governor his/her salary is an expense that could be cut from the budget and just nominate Sweeney every time Christie is out of pocket!
before one starts pointing fingers at Obama's vacation one needs to look at the Bush's vacation on the ranch in Crawford. personally i dont care who takes vacations but presidents taking vacations did not start on Jan 21st 2009.
they really should have coordinated vacations....just seems to make sense that both the governor and lt governor shouldn't be gone at the same time.
Excude me, I live in NJ and I wasn't aware of how big this storm might have been untill 2 days before. The Gov probably made these plans months ago. To run this story based on the criticism of "local" Politicians shows it must be a very slow news week and CNN has run out of the puff stories about President Obama's eating habits or what he's reading or how he had a great Lame Duck etc. etc.
I wish Christie would run for President, he might clean up the Federal Govt like he is Trenton. He is fighting all the the Liberal fat cat special interest groups like the teachers unions to make NJ a great state to live in and do business in again.
What else do we expect? Of course he wasn't there. I understand that it was a family vacation and he already had the vacation planned. Would those who are critical of this have done anything different if they were in his shoes? He is taking time to be with his children. For once and probably the only time, I am defending his right to spend time with his family.
The Governor and Lt. Governor seem not to understand why people are upset. The whole purpose of having a Lt. Governor is to have someone who is responsible tending the state when the Governor is unavailable. Since both the Governor and Lt. Governor cannot accept this, they should resign immediately.
I love seeing Republicans fall on their butts, but this is just dumb. It not as if he would be out with snokey moving snow himself.
I agree that the Lieutenant Gov and Gov should coordinate their vacation schedules so that at least one of them is in the state. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Especially since this major blizzard was forecast several days in advance (even if it hadn't been, the Lt. Gov and Gov should coordinate their holiday travel plans).
I am an out of state Democrat that shudders at the thought that I find myself in the position of defending the Governor of New Jersey. As the CEO of the state, he is responsible for directing the state and it's employees. According to the structure of the government there is a Lt. Governor to act in the absence of the Governor and that is where the problem lies. Both positions are entitled to thier time off or vacation and that is not the problem. The problem arises with the absence of both at the same time. A better effort should have been made to insure that they were not both out of the state at the same time. To be critical of him taking his vacation is unjustifed. If one is to be critical of him or his administration, they should be critical of poor planning.
What do you want him to do? Shovel snow? Any decisions that need to be made can be done over the phone. Christie is a hero and we all love him here in NJ.
Unless he drives a snow plow or de-ices runways, he could do as much good by phone as in person.
People love to complain about politicians!
FYI- I'm a Democrat – lighten up NJ