In an uncharacteristic rant to conclude his daily COVID-19 briefing on Saturday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy invoked a scene from the 1969 classic film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, while imploring Garden State residents to trust him like the characters played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford trusted each other when they jumped off a cliff rather than get gunned downed by authorities who were hunting down the outlaws.
Murphy started his apparently planned rant by chastising Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio for a facebook post which called for the State to be reopened without restrictions and to let the private sector solve the COVID-19 crisis.
Curcio edited his post following Murphy’s briefing to call for reasonable restrictions rather than no restrictions.
Curcio is echoing the sentiments expressed by thousands of New Jersey residents on social media. However his comments are unusual for a County Surrogate who is technically a Judge subject the the cannons of Judicial Conduct, even though he is an elected Constitutional Officer of Atlantic County.
The surrogate told Reuters that the comments are his personal opinion. His facebook page contains a disclaimer that the views expressed are his personal opinion with a link to the County Surrogate’s website. His disclaimer is unlikely to stop an inquiry by NJ Judicial Authorities.
The Republican, who is up for reelection in November, has previously been in the cross-hairs of state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.
As for Butch and Sundance, they survived their jump off the cliff and ended up in a shootout with Bolivian authorities. The film’s ending was ambiguous as to the demise of the outlaws. Newman and Redford were reincarnated in the 1973 classic, The Sting.