NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 4:59 PM
Gov. Chris Christie campaigned for Donald Trump in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio instead of attending a state trooper’s funeral.
It wasn’t Gov. Christie’s day to mourn.
The failed presidential candidate explained Tuesday why he skipped out one day earlier on a state trooper’s funeral: Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno was on the hook for the farewell to Trooper Sean Cullen.
“Even if I had decided to stay in the state, I would had not attended the funeral,” said Christie, who instead had plans to attend a Newark groundbreaking with a loyal pal — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo.
The governor initially opted for the ceremony at a vocational/technical school over the trooper’s funeral. And then he opted to stump for Donald Trump over both, spending yet another day campaigning outside New Jersey.
Christie recounted his casual conversation with Guadagno about who would attend the emotional sendoff for the 31-year-old trooper.
“Do you want to do the funeral?” said Christie, recalling his discussion with the lieutenant governor. “Do you want to flip it? You want to do the ground-breaking? Which one do you want to do?”
When Guadagno said she would attend Monday’s funeral, Christie was cleared go elsewhere — and ultimately joined the Trump team in sunny Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.
The failed presidential candidate has thrown his support behind Donald Trump.
State police and Garden State politicians blasted the governor for his failure to appear at the funeral. Cullen left behind a fiancé and a nine-month-old son Seamus.
Christie shrugged off the torrent of criticism about going MIA from New Jersey.
“This has much more to do with politics than with anything else,” said Christie, back in New Jersey for an event in Linden. “Did it cross my mind? Of course it crossed my mind that someone like (the media) would write about it.”
Christie spent 261 partial or full days out of New Jersey last year during his run for the White House — a full 72% of 2015. His office argues it was only 190 days — still an absentee rate of 52%.
Cullen died last week when struck by a passing vehicle as he responded to a car fire. He was the third state trooper killed in the line of duty in less than a year, and the third police funeral missed by Christie since December.