NJ Gov. Christie criticized for skipping trooper's funeral to campaign for Donald Trump

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Lucy Yang reports on the criticism of Gov. Christie over not attending a state trooper's funeral. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is catching some flak for missing a trooper's funeral Monday to stump for another campaign out of state.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadano attended the service in place of Gov. Christie, who was campaigning in North Carolina for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The funeral for 31-year-old Sean Cullen, who had been a trooper for about two years, was held in Cinnaminson.

Cullen died Tuesday, a day after he was injured on Interstate 295 in Deptford Township while responding to a car fire. Several fire and police vehicles had emergency lights on, and Cullen was walking near the crash when he was struck.

It was the third funeral for an officer that Christie has missed since December -- and he's taking some heat for this latest no-show, with a mayor even starting a petition for him to step down.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop launched the website stepdownchris.com, calling for Gov. Christie to resign because "Donald Trump on the campaign trail is more important than the people of New Jersey."

The New Jersey Troopers' Union released a statement Monday about Christie's absence from the funeral.

"We are focused on honoring our fallen brother today, and quite frankly we did not expect someone who has consistently shown disdain for law enforcement to pay his respects to the Cullen & State Police family. May Sean rest in peace. A wonderful family, tragic. Governor's decision making is predicated on selfish political opportunism, that much is clear," said Christopher Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of NJ, Inc.

Even while on the road for Trump, support for Christie wasn't reciprocal. While criticizing Ohio Gov. John Kasich for spending so much time in New Hampshire campaigning for the GOP nomination, Trump took a jab at the governor's lack of time spent in his home state.

Watch the clip here:

Christie endorsed Trump for president on Feb. 26 after dropping out of the presidential race on Feb. 11. Since he backed Trump, he hasn't since posted anything to his Twitter account - a place where he was very active up until Feb. 9.

At a news conference Tuesday, Gov. Christie talked about not going to the funeral, saying it's no different than what his administration has done over the last 6 1/2 years -- splitting attendance to various events among his staff.

"I understand that no matter what in this job, I will be criticized. That's fine, but it's no different than what we have done before," said Christie, who said he signed an order last week to honor the trooper.

"If I had been in the state yesterday, I was planning to go to a ground-breaking event in Essex County yesterday, and the lieutenant governor was going to be at the funeral. It would have been no different," Christie added.

Gov. Christie said he will not resign.

Here's what people are saying on social media about the decision to skip the funeral:

Here's an overview report:
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Mallory Hoff reporting live

What are your thoughts on Christie's decision to campaign for Trump at the same time as the trooper's funeral? Chime in via the comment section below.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Related Topics:
politicschris christiedonald trumpfuneralnew jersey news
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