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March 15, 2016

Head of New Jersey's state trooper union calls Christie 'selfish' for missing funeral for Trump event

New Jersey governor did not attend funeral for Trooper Sean Cullen on Monday

The head of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association blasted Gov. Chris Christie for "selfish political opportunism" because he missed the funeral for Trooper Sean Cullen on Monday to attend a campaign event for Donald Trump.

"Quite frankly, we did not expect someone who has consistently shown disdain for law enforcement to pay his respects to the Cullen and State Police family," the association's president, Christopher Burgos, said in a statement to CBSPhilly.

"The governor’s decision-making is predicated on selfish political opportunism, that much is clear," he added.

Cullen, 31, died on March 8 after being struck by a vehicle while he was responding to a car fire on the side of I-295 in West Deptford Township. He left behind a fiancee and a 9-month-old son (a GoFundMe page for the family can be found here).

At the time, Christie offered his condolences: "Every day, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police put their lives on the line to protect our citizens. The sudden and tragic loss of New Jersey State Trooper Sean Cullen reminds us how fragile life truly is and the dangers police officers face daily on the job."

Related story: Christie skips police officer's funeral for Trump campaign

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno attended Cullen's funeral in Cinnaminson, Burlington County, on Monday. Christie was at a rally for presidential candidate Donald Trump in Hickory, North Carolina, a day before that state voted in the primaries.

Christie conducted a question-and-answer session onstage with Trump, whom he has endorsed. However, protesters disrupted the rally several times, as can be seen in the video below (protests can be heard at seven minutes, 23 minutes and 38 minutes past the one-hour mark). Six protesters were arrested, ABC reported.

At one point in the Q&A, Donald Trump was discussing education and told Christie, "I know it's so important to Chris, and you've done a great job in New Jersey with that." A member of the crowded shouted out in response, "You cut teachers' salaries!" Christie, who has had a difficult relationship with teachers unions in Jersey, ignored the taunt and changed the subject to the Islamic State.