Governor Phil Murphy has been slammed for going on a family vacation to his luxury villa in Italy as the state of New Jersey continues to struggle with a recent spike in COVID cases caused by the Delta variant.
Murphy set off on a 10-day getaway to his 23-room multimillion-dollar villa in Umbria last Tuesday with plans to return to New Jersey next Thursday, Fox News reported.
The Democratic governor and his wife purchased the home in 2004 for $7 million.
Murphy told reporters his family was leaving ahead of him and he was ‘staying back’ to work on some state business for a few days and would join them.
Murphy set off on a 10-day getaway to his 23-room multimillion-dollar villa in Umbria last Tuesday with plans to return to New Jersey next Thursday
Photos of the massive compound show the 23-room mansion, a pool and tennis court
While the timing of his trip has raised eyebrows due to his state being in the midst of a COVID spike fueled by the delta variant, the governor defended his decision to get some downtime.
‘Listen, I’m no different than any other family,’ Murphy said during a coronavirus briefing Monday. ‘After this past 17 months, just having a few days together is something that I think all of us want to do with our family, and I’m looking forward to that.’
The Garden State is seeing some of it’s highest hospitalization numbers in months.
On Friday, state health officials reported another 1,776 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine more confirmed deaths, nj.com reported.
New Jersey’s seven-day average for newly confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 1,429- a 29 percent increase from a week ago and a nearly 400 percent increase from last month.
Health officials have blamed the surge on the delta variant, which continues to drive increases, especially among unvaccinated people, nj.com reported.
Governor Phil Murphy and his wife (pictured together) purchased their Italian villa in 2004 for $7 million
Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli tweeted: ‘While ‘Rome is burning’ here in New Jersey, Murphy is living in the lap of luxury and too rich to care about the communities and families impacted by the small businesses who had to close their doors forever’
In response to rising cases Murphy recently mandated mask for schools, which drew sharp criticisms from some.
Now his political opponents are seizing his ill-timed vacation to take shots at him, including his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli.
‘While ‘Rome is burning’ here in New Jersey, Murphy is living in the lap of luxury and too rich to care about the communities and families impacted by the small businesses who had to close their doors forever,’ Ciattarelli tweeted Thursday.
The governor faced criticism for his previous trip to Italy in 2018, which was also described as ill-timed.
Ciattarelli has used Murphy’s luxurious Italian villa as a way to paint himself as a true New Jerseyan compared to his democratic opponent, who is from Massachusetts.
‘New Jersey is where I vacation, on LBI (Long Beach Island, New Jersey), while Phil Murphy jets off to his villa in Italy,’ Ciattarelli said on the night of his primary win. ‘This is where I root for the Yankees, while Phil Murphy is cheering for the Red Sox.’
But Murphy has reassured his constituents that no matter how far away, he will be within reach.
‘I will never be more than a call or a text away,’ Murphy said on Monday.
DailyMail.com tracked down the governor’s Italian mansion in 2018.
Photos of the massive compound show the 23-room mansion and multiple other homes in addition to a pool and tennis court.
It is called Molino di Parrano, and that is the name that greets guests when they arrive at the gate of the compound
The property sits just outside the town of Parrano in the Umbria region of Italy.
It is in a landlocked area but does have a river running directly by the property, which is impeccably groomed and surrounded by dirt roads.
Murphy was able to afford the estate thanks to his years at Goldman Sachs, where he worked for over two decades prior to running for office.