Party-switching NJ senator, 87, plants ‘awkward’ kiss on reporter
🔴 The oldest serving senator kissed a reporter on the cheek unprompted after an interview
🔵 Sen. Samuel Thompson left the GOP and joined the ranks of Democrats this week
🟢 Thompson called the kiss a "show of appreciation" and apologized
A state senator making headlines for switching parties is in the news again for pecking a reporter on the cheek after an interview.
Sen. Samuel Thompson, D-Middlesex, announced this week that he was leaving the GOP amid a primary challenge from Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry.
The shakeup has spurred a number of interviews, including one Monday afternoon in Trenton. When it ended, he leaned over to New Jersey reporter Dana DiFilippo and kissed her on the cheek.
Terrence McDonald, an editor for the Monitor, criticized the senator's move in a commentary piece on Tuesday.
"Not only is this a flagrant violation that Thompson should apologize for, but it’s also confirmation that the 87-year-old senator is — as his critics allege — living under the cultural mores of a different century," McDonald said.
Thompson told New Jersey 101.5 that the kiss was a "little show of appreciation" for the interview. He added that it was similar to shaking the hand of a man.
"If that offended her or anyone else, I extend to them my sincerest apologies," Thomspon said. "Please convey my greatest apologies to her."
Meanwhile, DiFilippo has not publicly acknowledged the kiss. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment shortly before noon Tuesday.