The winter weather in New Jersey may be frightful, but in Orlando, Fla., the vacation destination for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his family, the weather is quite delightful -- and the Republican governor's critics are slamming him for it.
According to the Huffington Post, critics are "taking aim" at the governor for staying out the remainder of his Disney World vacation while New Jersey digs out from underneath a massive snow storm. Additionally, Christie's second-in-command, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, is simultaneously on leave in Mexico this week.
New Jersey's state constitution dictates that someone in the state must always be ultimately responsible for its bureaucracy. But with the top two executives out of pocket, executive decisions have reportedly fallen on Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney who is serving as acting governor until Christie returns.
To his credit, Sweeney has not taken advantage of Christie's absence to take shots at the governor, but other Democratic politicians in the state are taking issue with the governor's decision not to cut his vacation short and the state's decision to recently add a lieutenant governor position.
"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 Sen. Raymond Lesniak said, according to 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."
One New Jersey columnist called Christie's wintertime vacation a "dereliction of duty and an abrogation of responsibility" which negatively reflects on Christie's leadership ability.
But Sweeney tells the Star-Ledger that the situation is understandable. "It's easy to criticize. I'm not going to do that," he says. "I am sure for the governor, this was not the ideal situation for him, me being a Democrat, him being a Republican," he said, noting that he won't use any of his temporary power to do anything Christie wouldn't have done.
In the meantime, Gov. Christie's spokesperson downplayed the governor's absence during the state's post-snow dig out:
Snow in the northeast happens often, which is why the response was handled expeditiously between the acting governor, secretary of transportation, state police and the governor's staff with all the appropriate and necessary coordination. And like every other day, the governor was and continues to be in regular contact with his staff and cabinet officers.
The New York Post's John Podhoretz offers some friendly advice for other elected officials who wish to avoid such criticism via Twitter: