NJ Democrats sell t-shirts for coronavirus fund using Murphy's warning: 'Don't be a knucklehead'

NJ Democrats sell t-shirts for coronavirus fund using Murphy's warning: 'Don't be a knucklehead'
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New Jersey Democrats are raising money for the state’s coronavirus relief fund by selling T-shirts emblazoned with Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) warning to not be a “knucklehead” during the pandemic.

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee unveiled a line of Garden State-themed T-shirts. Residents can vote on their favorite design, which will then be sold to benefit the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

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Murphy has frequently used the phrase to call out residents who defy his stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The slogan was even displayed on electric traffic signs across the state.

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Murphy’s rhetoric, however, was criticized by Republican state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, who condemned the term as “flippant."

“It is disrespectful to the citizens of New Jersey who have — and will continue to — make hard sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives,” Pennacchio said in a statement. “The sophomoric language is unbecoming of the Governor, and certainly not fair to the people of New Jersey. Webster defines a knucklehead as a ‘stupid person.’ Is that what you think of sacrificing New Jersey citizens? Really?” 

Murphy responded to the knock by reading the definition of a knucklehead during a press conference earlier this month.

He said his team offered up other alternative liked “blockhead” or “numbskull” but that he decided to stick with “knucklehead.”

“To the legislator who raised that — that’s the point,” Murphy said. “Overwhelmingly, folks are doing the right things. But for the very small minority who are not, they need to be called out. That’s why we’re doing it.” 

New Jersey has seen the second most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, with 149,356 positive cases and 10,587 deaths as of Wednesday. 

Murphy on Monday unveiled a five-stage reopening plan for the state’s economy, indicating New Jersey had entered the initial phase. However, he did not give any indications as to when or under what parameters the state would continue on to phase two.