Christie ends shutdown, but beach pictures left an imprint

People stream onto the beach at Island Beach State Park after it reopened at 8 in the morning Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in Seaside Park, N.J. New Jersey's budget stalemate between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-controlled Legislature had resulted with the state government shut down and state parks closed to the public until late Monday night, just in time for the Fourth of July. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed his final budget after a three-day state government shutdown that included a viral photo of him lounging on a state beach that was closed to the public because of a budget impasse.

The lame-duck Republican governor signed the $34.7 billion budget early Tuesday and sounded an unapologetic tone over the aerial photos snapped by NJ.com that showed him at the state governor’s residence at Island Beach State Park.

The pictures sparked a global reaction: countless memes featuring a Photoshopped cutout of Christie in the beach chair, headlines on international news sites and a full-scale media blitz from his spokesman.

Christie says it wasn’t a scandal because he was where he said he’d be: relaxing with his family.

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