New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has come under scrutiny for using a police helicopter and limo to get to and from his son's baseball game yesterday (we covered this on the blog this morning as well). NJ.com reports:
As the game at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale was about to begin, a noise from above distracted the spectators who watched the 55-foot-long helicopter buzz over the trees in left field, circle the outfield and land in an adjacent football field. Christie left the helicopter and got into a black car with tinted windows that drove him about 100 yards to the baseball field. The governor watched from the bleachers as his eldest son, Andrew, played starting catcher for Delbarton School. Christie played the position of catcher in high school as well.
During the fifth inning, Christie and first lady Mary Pat Christie got into the car, rode back to the helicopter and departed. His son’s team won the game, 7-2...
Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said he saw no problem with the governor attending his son's game. That said, he stated his belief that New Jersey residents shouldn't have to "pick up the tab." Christie headed to meet some Iowa donors after the game, which Wisniewski took particular issue with.
In an e-mail to The Blaze, Christie's communications team defended use of the helicopter via a statement from Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police:
Governor Christie is on duty every hour of every day. His transportation, safety and security are my responsibility, and he therefore travels with the State Police Executive Protection Unit, whether on state or personal business. As part of our long-standing security protocol, the EPU provides secure, protected travel by vehicle in the overwhelming majority of the Governor's business and personal travel, except in those rare instances when the Governor's schedule warrants use of air travel.
To date, Governor Christie has been aboard State Police helicopters 35 times since taking office, including aerial surveys of flood and storm damage. It is important to understand that State Police helicopters fly daily homeland security missions, and use flight time for training purposes, more so lately as we acclimate our pilots to the new aircraft. These are flight hours that would be logged in any event. Therefore, there is no additional cost to taxpayers or the State Police budget, nor is there any interference with our daily mission, by adding the state's chief executive to any of these trips. Any flights transporting the Governor would be subordinated to priority needs for our aircraft including rescue and emergent law enforcement missions.
While some people have been focused more on the monetary values associated with the situation, Mediaite offers condolences to the governor's son:
The problem is that this must have been terrible for his son. I mean, think about it! This is high school! High school students are mortified by their parents no matter who they are. You could be the governor, the president, or the King of Awesomevania and your kid would still be embarrassed by you. It’s a fact of life; if you’re a teenager, you don’t want your parents drawing attention.
What do you think? Was usage of the limo and helicopter warranted in this instance?