Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, has recently been making headlines for his actions, including a trip to Ukraine and a jab at Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida. Some are wondering what his motives are and what he is up to, but those on the inside know what’s going on: he’s jockeying for position in the event Joe Biden doesn’t run for a second term.
Interestingly, despite his own presidential ambitions, Murphy is part of a small group of people who are advising Biden on whether to run for a second term in 2024, which immediately strikes many as being a conflict of interest.
During his trip to Ukraine, Murphy visited a local hospital and met with Ukrainian officials. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between New Jersey and Ukraine, which aims to promote cooperation between the two regions in areas such as economic development, education, and culture.
Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Murphy took a swipe at DeSantis, saying that the Florida governor was “playing politics with people’s lives” by not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Murphy criticized DeSantis for his approach to vaccination and mask mandates, which he believes are endangering the health of Florida residents.
While Murphy has said he will support President Biden if he runs again, he has all but closed the door on his own presidential aspirations. At the very least, the governor is interested in cultivating a national image and has ambitions to become an ambassador or secretary of state if Biden does run again.
His allies note that Murphy is authentic and a social pro, gamely posing for selfies, and he has made hundreds of calls to families who have lost relatives to Covid-19. Murphy’s liberal wins in New Jersey include legalizing marijuana, strengthening gun control laws, and increasing taxes on income over $1 million.
However, his razor-thin re-election in 2021 has led to a concerted effort to appeal to moderate voters, which some have criticized for lacking urgency. Murphy’s changing rhetoric and leadership roles in the Democratic Governors Association and the National Governors Association suggest he is keen to advance his agenda at a national level.
Will Biden run for a second term as president? He says ‘yes,’ but Phil Murphy is acting like the answer is a clear ‘no.’