July 04, 2017 11:27 AM

Looks like New Jersey residents don’t have to “run for governor” after all to enjoy the state’s public beaches on the Fourth of July holiday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other state leaders reached an agreement to pass the state budget late Monday, ending a three-day government shutdown and reopening state parks and beaches just in time for Independence Day.

But the move did little to alleviate the widespread backlash against Christie, who along with his family was photographed lounging on a beach that was closed to the public over the weekend amid the government shutdown.

Despite national criticism, Christie remains defiantly unapologetic over the scandal that’s been dubbed “Beachgate.”

Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media/AP

“I don’t apologize for it. I don’t back away from it,” Christie said late Monday after the state legislature ended the budget standoff.

“Let’s be really clear. That’s our residence and we have a right to be there whenever we want to be there,” Christie said of the Island Beach State Park home given to the governor to use while in office. He added that he didn’t request government services such as lifeguards or trash collection while his family was using the beach.

The Republican governor has been similarly unabashed in other recent responses to the criticism over his beach outing. On Saturday he declared: “That’s the way it goes. Run for governor, and you can have the residence.”

On Monday, Christie retweeted other towns’ messages about their beaches being open (municipal beaches and parks were not impacted by the shutdown).

“Another beautiful day at the Jersey shore. Our beaches are open & full of people. Come & see for yourself!” he wrote in one tweet. “And you can hit the boardwalk!”

Christie also sarcastically mocked the Star-Ledger photos of him and his family sunbathing as a “great bit of journalism.”

“They actually caught a politician being where he said he was going to be with the people he said he was going to be with, his wife and children and their friends,” Christie said in an interview with the New York Fox TV station. “I am sure they will get a Pulitzer for this one.”

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