JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A Jersey City venue has been ordered closed by the city after hosting a Young Republican event which city and state officials allege violated social distancing guidelines.
The New York Young Republican Club event at Maritime Parc, which overlooks the Hudson River, was attended by Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida. When one attendee tweeted a taunt to Governor Andrew Cuomo to “come and get me,” a war of words – and action by the city’s health department – ensued. Even Governor Phil Murphy got in on the action:
So brave of you to tweet at @NYGovCuomo after sneaking across the river to hide in NJ in order to hold a party that you wouldn’t disclose the location of. Nevertheless JC law enforcement will be visiting the Maritime Parc this AM + will follow appropriate steps within laws of NJ https://t.co/Cf37mvN0Bz
— Steven Fulop (@StevenFulop) December 4, 2020
— Marci Rubin (@MarciRubinN12) December 4, 2020
Gov Murphy rips NY "Young Republicans" gathering in Jersey City. No masks, social dist, etc. Specifically calls out @mattgaetz, "What a fool. He and they should be ashamed of themselves. Matt, you are not welcome in New Jersey and frankly I don't want you back in this state." pic.twitter.com/OsW1tk3F7N
— Kurt Siegelin (@kurtsiegelin) December 4, 2020
It is also beyond the pale that Rep Matt Putz – I mean @RepMattGaetz – would participate in this. What a fool.
Matt – You are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly I don’t ever want you back in this state. pic.twitter.com/j67x9Z2lAf
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 4, 2020
Dear Business Owners –
Escape the Tyrany.
Move to Florida. https://t.co/GwRbWNIU6z
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 4, 2020
Meanwhile, the group’s leader denied that anything they did violated the state’s rules.
“The @NYYRC Gala was held in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations,” tweeted Gavin Mario Wax. “Any suggestion to the contrary and any legal threats are made in bad faith and politically motivated. As far as we are aware, the First Amendment has not been repealed.”
New Jersey’s enforcement actions remain arbitrary and differ from county-to-county.
Over in Bergen County, local officials have ordered a popular local restaurant to stop operating outdoors after 4:00 p.m. for 30 days after two Thanksgiving weekend gatherings which allegedly violated state COVID-19 rules.
At present, New Jersey’s rules provide that “Indoor weddings, funerals, memorial services, and religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment must be limited to 150 people or 25% of a room’s capacity — whichever number is lower. All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart.”
Meanwhile, as a back-and-forth broke out on Twitter over the event and its aftermath, Gaetz used the controversy to advertise his home state in a Friday tweet.
“Dear Business Owners – Escape the Tyrany. Move to Florida.”