New Jersey Republicans are demanding that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy speak out about his stance on COVID-19 vaccine mandates following the release of footage from inside his campaign that alleges “he will” require residents in the state to be vaccinated should he be reelected for a second term.
“This extremely disturbing video appears to confirm what the Murphy campaign has been hinting at — and the NJGOP has been warning about — throughout the summer: that a second Murphy term will bring about the same type of vaccine passports seen in Bill de Blasio’s New York, burdening already suffering businesses and discriminating against minority communities in which immunization rates are lower,” said NJGOP executive director Tom Szymanski.
KEARNY, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 25: Murphy speaks about Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and Build Back Better Agenda at the NJ Transit Meadowlands Maintenance Complex on October 25, 2021. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
The video, released Monday by Project Veritas, shows Wendy Martinez, an apparent senior adviser to Murphy, telling an undercover journalist that Murphy will indeed put into effect vaccine mandates should he receive another term. She was also filmed saying this policy was kept secret over fears that Murphy could lose independent and undecided voters “because they’re into all that s—, ‘my rights, my s—.’”
“He will, but right now it is about him winning,” Martinez said in the clip.
NEWARK, NJ – OCTOBER 23: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Phil Governor Murphy wave at attendees after taking part in an early vote rally on October 23, 2021 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images) (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Szymanski accused Murphy of “following political science, as opposed to actual science,” saying Murphy’s withholding of “life-changing information” from voters until after the election is as “deceitful as it gets.”
“Phil Murphy must immediately state his intentions on this matter before voting ends next week and disclose whether or not data of thousands of New Jerseyans already entered into the Docket App has been harvested for the purpose of implementing a vaccine passport,” Szymanski said.
A spokeswoman for New Jersey Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli released a statement about the footage and insisted Murphy “has a lot of explaining to do.”
Jack Ciattarelli, the Ocean County Republican Party’s nominee for governor, speaks during the annual convention. Ocean County Republicans (Reuters)
In a press release issued Tuesday by email, Murphy’s campaign dismissed the footage, accusing Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe of “blatant harassment and physical intimidation” when he confronted Martinez about the footage. The campaign did not say whether he would mandate vaccines if he received another term but claimed Ciattarelli is “once again embracing disinformation.”
“Time and again, Assemblyman Ciattarelli has made demonstrably false and conspiratorial claims, and now he’s hit rock bottom by not condemning in the strongest possible terms the dangerous tactics of a far-right extremist,” said Murphy for Governor spokesman Jerrel Harvey.