Christie misses state trooper’s funeral to ‘interview’ Trump
Posted by New Jersey State Police on Monday, March 14, 2016
Thousands of people, from law enforcement to supporters, lined the streets of Cinnaminson Monday to bid farewell to NJ State Trooper Sean Cullen, who was killed in the line of duty last week. But Gov. Chris Christie wasn't among the mourners.
The governor spent time Monday campaigning for GOP hopeful Donald Trump. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno attended the service in his place.
Christie, whose own bid for the GOP nomination ended three weeks ago, has missed three New Jersey police funerals since his campaign for the 2016 presidential race began, according to NJ Advance Media. In December of 2015, Christie missed the memorial service for NJ State Trooper Eli McCarson. Then in January, he missed the funeral of Port Authority Police Officer Eamon Mautone.
During the Feb. 29 edition of New Jersey 101.5's Ask The Governor program, Christie said now that his campaign has ended, he planned to get "back to work" in the Garden State.
Christie, who has publicly endorsed Trump in his bid for the GOP nod, was in Florida last week for two days for a vacation as New Jersey Transit and its unions negotiated a new contract, just barely avoiding a potentially catastrophic strike.
On Monday, as mourners gathered at Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church and later at Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson for Cullen's funeral, the New Jersey governor spent time "interviewing" Trump as part of a campaign event in Hickory, N.C., according to multiple reports.
Christie's office was contacted, but has not yet returned requests for comment.
Chris Burgos, president of the State Police Fraternal Association, said State Police "didn't really expect" Christie to be in attendance.
"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 and (the) State Police family. May Sean rest in peace," Burgos said in a statement sent to New Jersey 101.5 Monday.
Cullen, 31, died last week after being struck by a vehicle as he stood alongside I-295 in West Deptford at the scene of a car fire. Last week, he was the subject of New Jersey 101.5 host Bill Spadea's #BlueFriday tribute, an ongoing effort to honor police officer who go above and beyond the call of duty.
On Thursday, friends and family members gathered at the Burlington County Public Safety Center at the Fallen Officers Memorial in Westampton for a candlelight vigil to remember the fallen trooper, who leaves behind a fiancee and 9-month-old son.
Prior to becoming a NJ state trooper, Cullen was a member of the Mount Holly and Westampton police departments. He was born in Ireland but moved to the United States with his family as a child.
A GoFundMe page was created to offer financial assistance to Cullen’s fiancee and son.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.