- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2020

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, was admonished Friday by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy after posts appeared on social media showing the congressman flouting the Garden State’s coronavirus rules.

Purposely referring to Mr. Gaetz as “Matt Putz,” Mr. Murphy said the congressman is not welcome in New Jersey after photos and videos emerged showing him partying there maskless the previous night.

Mr. Murphy said the posts suggest Mr. Gaetz attended a gala in Jersey City where there was no obvious attempt to enforce social distancing or require the wearing of face masks among those involved.

New Jersey requires that people attending organized indoor gatherings cover their faces when not eating or drinking in order to help mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Murphy noted.

Social media posts showed Mr. Gaetz among participants blatantly disregarding those rules, the governor added.

“Matt, you are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly I don’t ever want you back in this state,” Mr. Murphy said at a press conference where he showed images of Mr. Gaetz.

Mr. Murphy repeated the sentiment on social media later, ultimately drawing a reaction from the congressman’s account on Twitter.

“You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey,” Mr. Gaetz tweeted.

Mr. Murphy said Jersey City law enforcement is investigating the gala. It was allegedly held by the New York City Young Republicans Club, he added.

COVID-19, the contagious disease caused by the coronavirus, can be transmitted from person to person in respiratory droplets, making face coverings important tools for fighting the pandemic.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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