NEW Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under fire after he was photographed sunning himself with his family on a beach he closed to the public because of a government shutdown over a budget stalemate.
Mr Christie, 54, defended his use of the beach, saying he had announced his holiday plans and the media had simply "caught a politician keeping his word”.
The maligned Republican Governor was photographed on Sunday by NJ.com at Island Beach State Park lounging on a beach chair in sandals and a T-shirt.
"I didn't get any sun today,” he told media.
When the photos were revealed later, his spokesman denied his boss had lied: "He did not get any sun. He had a baseball hat on”.
Mr Christie was widely mocked online, with memes using the image of Mr Christie in his beach chair.
Daily Mail UK screamed "SON OF A BEACH”.
"If I were governor, I sure wouldn't be sitting on the beach if taxpayers didn't have access to state beaches. It's beyond words,” Gov Christie's top deputy Kim Guadagno posted.
But Mr Christie told Fox 5 in New York, "They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and children and their friends. I am sure they will get a Pulitzer for this one. They caught me doing what I said I was going to do.”
When Fox 29 Philadelphia asked why he was enjoying the beach when the public couldn't, he said: "I'm sorry they're not the governor.”
- staff writers