✅ The review was conducted by a law firm at a cost of $9 million

✅ Several Republicans said the report found what is already known

✅ Sen. Bucco: Bipartisan legislative hearings should review the findings

Several Republicans were critical of a review of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic released Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy and say it shows a lot of what they already knew.

The 910-page report by the law firm Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads and and Boston Consulting Group. The report released Monday faults planning, communication and decision-making before and during the pandemic, which broke out in early 2020.

One of the positives of the report was the state's mask and social distancing mandates implemented by Murphy via executive order, which the report says "helped to substantially reduce the number of people infected." Republicans were critical of the orders during the pandemic and remain so now.

"One of the things that we noticed that directly led to all 920 pages of catastrophe that you read in here is the governor had too much unilateral power during the pandemic. We have several bills in place that can fix it and nobody wants to do anything about it," Assembly Whip Brian Bergen, R-Morris County, told New Jersey 101.5.

Bergen said that he will be asking Republicans who run for governor in 2025 if they will roll back some of the powers of the office.

"I won't vote for a single person who will not do that," Bergen said.

Bergen called the state's response a "train wreck" and said the report's conclusion that the state is not prepared for the next pandemic is accurate.

"The worse thing about this whole thing, though, is that we have done nothing, legitimately zero, since COVID hit to improve what our response would be. We are no more prepared today than we were prepared in 2020. And that's the real shame here," Bergen said.

SEE ALSO: Read the full review of New Jersey's COVID-19 pandemic response

Kylie Moore photo
Kylie Moore photo

Ciattarelli: 'Truly independent review' needed

Jack Ciattarelli, who again is seeing the GOP nomination for governor, said the report, though late in coming, only confirms everything we already knew.

"Namely, that state government failed, especially when it came to nursing home residents, including veterans in state-operated facilities."

Ciattarelli said as governor he would begin a "truly independent review" to ensure the Murphy administration is held accountable and its "egregious mistakes are never repeated."

SEE ALSO: Report: NJ, US were not prepared for COVID-19 pandemic

A Wawa worker wears a mask
A Wawa worker wears a mask with an opinion (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Bucco: bipartisan legislative hearings should review the findings

Republican Minority Leader Sen. Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, said the report reinforces the fact that the state would benefit from bipartisan legislative hearings to further understand what must be done to prepare the state for any future disaster.

"We must never forget how our nursing homes were ravaged and businesses destroyed as our communities were trying to wrap their heads around this mysterious virus," Bucco said in a statement. "Simply accepting the report without further legislative analysis and changes to current practices only hurts our future preparation. If we ever wish to improve our procedures so this never happens again, we must put politics aside and work together for the betterment of New Jersey.”

State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, continued his criticism of the Murphy administration's response.

"The Murphy administration operated with no transparency, zero open-mindedness and with a dictatorial attitude that hurt New Jersey rather than helped," O' Scanlon told New Jersey 101.5.

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