While millions of Americans are trying to do the right thing and stay home to suppress the spread of coronavirus, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and the New York Republicans threw a massive indoor party with at least 150 people, flouting mask requirements and crowd limitations.
The New York Young Republican Club’s 108th annual gala was held in Jersey City, N.J., a backup location chosen after New York City officials pressured them to relocate because the gala would host more attendees than the state allows to gather at one time. New York state currently caps indoor social gatherings to a 50-person limit, but New Jersey allows for “religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment” with up to 150 people or 25 percent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lowest. But maskless, non-distanced events of that size are not permitted. Still, a deadly virus and state restrictions couldn’t stop these young GOP members from partying.
Originally, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was scheduled to be the featured speaker, but she showed uncharacteristic logic and canceled because she was concerned about traveling during a pandemic. So the young Republicans turned to someone who wouldn’t let a virus get in the way of his good time, Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz is seen smiling and embracing attendees in photos from the gala posted to social media, which drew criticism from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
— Gavin Mario Wax 🇺🇸 (@GavinWax) December 4, 2020
“What a fool,” the governor said of Gaetz during a press briefing on Friday, according to the New York Times. “He and they should be ashamed of themselves. He is not welcome. I hope you’re watching, Matt. You are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly, I don’t ever want you back in this state.”
— Icculus The Brave (@FirenzeMike) December 4, 2020
Murphy continued, referring to the congressman as “Matt Putz” and saying, “It is obvious being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him.”
The governor even tweeted some choice words at the congressman, and Gaetz replied, “You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey.”
You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey. https://t.co/zVYjvEYF0I
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 4, 2020
Gov. Murphy also said that the gala is now under investigation by Jersey City law enforcement. And as a result of the event, the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services demanded the restaurant where the event was held be closed and instructed them to draft a plan outlining how they will follow state orders “regarding capacity mandates and mask-wearing,” the Times reported.