On the heels of his mask-optional campaign rally in Arizona, President Donald Trump will not follow Phil Murphy’s new 14-day quarantine mandate when he travels to his private golf club in Bedminster on Friday, the White House said.
“The president of the United States is not a civilian,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in response to a query Wednesday from NJ Advance Media.
He said anyone who comes close to the president, including staff, guests and press, is tested for the coronavirus.
The president’s visit is expected to come days after Murphy ordered visitors from states seeing a rise in coronavirus cases — including Arizona — to quarantine for 14 days to curb the spread in New Jersey, which is still in the process of reopening.
“With regard to Arizona, the White House followed its COVID mitigation plan to ensure the president did not come into contact with anyone who was symptomatic or had not been tested,” Deere said.
Murphy Wednesday night said Trump isn’t included in his order.
“There is a carve out for essential workers and I think by any definition the president of the United States is an essential worker,” the governor said on CNN. “And I know the folks get tested around him all the time. I’ve been tested a couple of times when I’ve been with him over the past couple of months.”
While New Jersey has been in steady decline since the peak of the outbreak in April, the U.S. reached its highest single-day increase on Wednesday since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rise in cases elsewhere pushed Murphy, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, to announce the travel advisory, which applies to Arizona and eight other states and goes into effect midnight Wednesday.
“We’ve been clobbered by this virus. No region in this country has paid a bigger price,” Murphy said during a joint appearance by the governors. “This is a smart thing to do. We have taken our people, these three states, to hell and back.”
Murphy also said the advisory relies on people to “do the right thing.”
“Constitutionally, we’re not able to put up border checks around New Jersey,” he said. “We’re asking folks to take on a big amount of personal responsibility here.”
Trump hosted the first-term, progressive governor at his Somerset County golf club earlier in June, during which the president endorsed federal funding for a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River.
Though Murphy has criticized Trump repeatedly in recent years, the two have been more diplomatic in recent months as New Jersey has sought the federal government’s help in responding to the coronavirus.
Trump often spends weekends during the summer months at his private New Jersey golf club. He has spent 94 days at Bedminster during his presidency, behind only the 133 days he spent at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Florida, estate, according to NBC News.
New Jersey has the second-most COVID-19 deaths and third most cases among U.S. states, and the state’s tax revenue has cratered in the wake of business closings and lockdown restrictions Murphy ordered to fight the virus’ spread.