New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is skipping the funeral of 31-year-old New Jersey State Trooper Sean Cullen, who was killed in the line duty after being accidentally hit by a motorist last Monday. The governor, who recently became a surrogate for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, will instead be spending the day campaigning for Trump out-of-state. (Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno is scheduled to attend the funeral.)
Christie’s office and the Trump campaign did not respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
"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," Christopher Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, told The Daily Beast in a statement. "May Sean rest in peace. A wonderful family, tragic. [The governor's] decision making is predicated on selfish political opportunism, that much is clear."
The governor has missed three New Jersey police funerals in a row due to his schedule for the 2016 GOP primary. Christie also skipped the services for Port Authority police officer Eamonn Mautone in January, and New Jersey State Police trooper Eli McCarson in December.
During his now defunct presidential campaign, Christie had made his full-throated support for law enforcement (and his disdain for anti-police-brutality protest movements including Black Lives Matter) a prime qualification. He even pinned some of the blame for recent attacks on — and deaths of — cops on President Obama.
"It's politicians like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and [New York Mayor] Bill de Blasio who coddle those who are causing…problems,” Christie said in October. “That is making our law enforcement officers feel less safe in this country and it's causing crime to increase.”
As for Black Lives Matter activists, Christie was very clear. “I want the Black Lives Matter people to understand: Don't call me for a meeting,” he vowed in November. “You're not getting one.”
"I think all lives matter," Christie said. “Let me tell you this: When a movement like that calls for the murder of police officers...no President of the United States should dignify a group like that by saying anything positive about them, and no candidate for president, like Hillary Clinton, should give them any credibility by meeting with them, as she's done."