What began as a pro-Trump #StopTheSteal rally turned into a protest against the Democrat’s statewide guidelines put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
David Winkler, a Republican running for state Senate, attended the rally and told Fox News its purpose was “to get Gov. Murphy to listen to the people.”
“Listen to them,” continued Winkler, speaking directly to Murphy. “You’re a leader. You’re supposed to be a representative that is for and by the people. You need to start acting like it.”
As the demonstrators made their way toward the governor’s house, they were met by barricades as well as state and local police officers, who blocked them from entering the street. According to Winkler, the local police claimed the barricades were due to an EPW (Environmental and Public Works) matter that involved “cleaning up leaves.”
Rallygoers doubted that explanation, convinced Murphy ordered the police to stop the protesters from gathering outside his home. They can be heard screaming “let us in” and “peaceful assembly” in a video taken by Winkler.
Middletown police did not respond to requests for comment.
According to Winkler, the economic devastation and social isolation resulting from Murphy’s “unconstitutional” mandates are a deadly combination.
“If you have no economy, you have no New Jersey,” he said. “These people had to take out loans just to keep their places open. They’re not going to survive here.”
On Monday, Murphy announced the suspension of indoor high school and youth sports for the rest of 2020, along with a new limit on outdoor gatherings.
“As a veteran myself, I understand the invisible wounds aspects,” Winkler said. “That’s something I’m worried about with our people. Making them stick inside their house, it gets that kind of depression going. Same thing with kids, sports and all that. They need to get out and they need to socialize.”
“It’s on the table in terms of a shutdown,” Murphy said. “I don’t anticipate it and I sure as heck don’t want to go that route.’