UNION CITY, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ran out of patience for protesters against the COVID-19 vaccine at a bill signing in Union City Wednesday.
The bill, which appropriates an additional $500 million for the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and $250 million for utility assistance and mandates new eviction and foreclosure moratorium deadlines and special eviction protections for tenants who were directly impacted by the pandemic, was about to be signed when the governor began reading some of the latest COVID-19 statistics within the state.
He then encouraged everyone to get vaccinated before turning to a group anti-vaccination protesters behind those gathered to watch the speech.
“These folks back there have lost their minds, you’ve lost your minds! You are the ultimate knuckleheads, and because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life,” Murphy said. “People are losing their life and you have to know that… look in the mirror… look in the mirror!”
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Gov. Murphy referred PIX11 News to what he’d said when addressing the protesters.
After the address, the crowd can be heard chanting Murphy’s name.
New Jersey’s anti-vaccination movement did not necessarily begin during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state and protesters have in the past been at odds over a potential bill that would end religious exemptions for vaccinations. That bill ultimately failed in early 2020.