New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is defending his use of a beach closed to the public during New Jersey’s government shutdown, saying he had previously announced his vacation plans and the media had simply “caught a politician keeping his word.”

The Republican governor was photographed Sunday by at Island Beach State Park sitting on a beach chair in sandals and a T-shirt before flying to talk to reporters in Trenton.

Christie told WTXF-TV in Philadelphia on Monday that he had earlier said he planned to be at the state-owned governor’s beach house regardless of whether there was a shutdown.

He said the media “caught a politician keeping his word” and added New Jersey “has beaches for 120 miles” so there are plenty of options for anyone wanting a beach day as the Fourth of July approaches.

New Jersey’s budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-controlled Legislature is smoldering with the state government shut down and state parks closed to the public as the Fourth of July approaches.

Christie said he’d sign any budget lawmakers sent to him and blamed the shutdown of nonessential services on Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

Christie said he’d consider the Democratic budget along with legislation to overhaul the state’s biggest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield. He said without the Horizon legislation he has called for he’d line item veto $350 million of the Democratic priorities.

Prieto is holding open a deadlocked vote on the Assembly floor on the $34.7 billion budget.

More From