Republicans are demanding answers from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy after campaign staff revealed on hidden camera that he is concealing plans for broad vaccine mandates after the upcoming election — citing independents’ concern about “my rights, my s–t.”
The video, released on Monday by Project Veritas, shows Wendy Martinez, who works Hispanic outreach for the campaign, tell an undercover reporter that Murphy would implement widespread mandates like California, but the plan can’t be revealed because “right now it is about him winning.”
“He’s going to do it, but he couldn’t do it before the elections because [independent and undecided voters are] all into all the s–t, my rights, my s–t,” Martinez said, adding, ”And they don’t care if they kill everybody.”
“He will, but right now it is about him winning,” she said.
Another campaign staffer, Matthew Urquijo, a digital manager, was asked by a Veritas undercover reporter about the governor’s plans for vaccine mandates.
“I think so. I think the problem is right now because it’s election season, he’s not going to have people say like, ‘We’re going to have a mandate now,’” Urquijo said.
In a statement, Tom Szymanski, director of the New Jersey State Republican Committee, said Murphy must be clear about his intentions.
“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,” Szymanski said.
“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,” the statement continued.
Murphy’s Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, also said the governor must come clean.
“The video released tonight appears to show high-level Phil Murphy campaign advisors revealing that the Governor is secretly planning to implement a statewide vaccine mandate if re-elected, but refusing to do so before the election because it would hurt him politically. If true, this is the ultimate hypocrisy and an appalling lack of transparency,” said a statement from Stami Williams, a spokeswoman for the Ciattarelli campaign.
“Our campaign has long suggested that the Governor was too willing to put political science before actual science during this pandemic. If this tape is verified, Governor Murphy has a lot of explaining to do. Any attempt by the Governor or his allies to distract attention away from that responsibility or blame others is unacceptable,” it said.
The Murphy campaign did not address the revelations in the clips, instead attacking the credibility of Project Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe.
“Following right-wing propagandist James O’Keefe’s blatant harassment and physical intimidation of two female Murphy for Governor, NJDSC campaign staffers yesterday, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is showing his desperation by shamelessly throwing his support behind the disinformation schemes and stunts of the ’political spying’ organization, Project Veritas,” spokeswoman Rachel Bocchino told the Shore Network on Tuesday.
New Jersey already has implemented certain vaccine mandates, requiring all state workers to have the shot or undergo regular testing, as well as employees of public and private schools in the state.
On Oct. 1, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that students from K to 12 be vaccinated once the Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines for that age group — the first state in the nation to do so.