Gov. Chris Christie will not attend the funeral of the New Jersey State Trooper who was killed in the line duty last week, and will instead spend the day campaigning out-of-state for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Sean Cullen, 31, was responding to a car fire on I-295 last Monday when he was accidentally struck by a passing motorist. He died of his injuries a few hours later.
The Cullen funeral mass will begin at noon at Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church in Cinnaminson Township. Cullen will be laid to rest at Lakeview Memorial Park, also in Cinnaminson, immediately afterwards.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was to attend the funeral instead. A spokesman for the governor declined to say why the governor would not be attending the funeral, or when he would be returning to New Jersey, referring all questions to the Trump campaign.
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, Hope Hicks, did not return calls or emails from NJ Advance Media.
Christie had made respect for law enforcement a linchpin of his own failed 2016 presidential campaign, often complaining that there was “a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country.”
The 2016 presidential contest has caused Christie to miss three New Jersey police funerals in a row: In addition to Cullen’s, Christie also missed the funeral services of Port Authority police officer Eamonn Mautone in January, as well as the December 2015 memorial of New Jersey State Police trooper Eli Eli McCarson.
Three weeks after ending his own bid for the White House, Christie held a lengthy press conference on Mar. 3 to emphasize that he would not be a “full-time surrogate” for the Republican presidential front-runner Trump and that he was focused on his duties in New Jersey, telling reporters, “I am back to work.”
Christie spent two days in Florida last week on vacation, returning to the state to announce an NJ Transit strike had been averted.