Chris Christie defends July 4th party on closed beach: Not willing to 'sacrifice' his family's fun
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with his family on the beach (

In an MSNBC segment, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) claimed that he was putting family first during his now-infamous July 4 beach trip.

Speaking with host Nicolle Wallace, Christie claimed that his decision to go to a closed beach was a family matter -- and that he will always choose family over his public image.

"I want to talk about your image, not beaches," Wallace said. "Why don't you care how you're perceived?"

"I do care how I'm perceived, but I'm not gonna sacrifice my family for public perception," Christie rebutted.

Wallace didn't let it go, and asked Christie, "are they mutually exclusive?"

"Sometimes they are," he said. "In this instance they were."

He then went on a tirade about the difficulty of his decision.

"I had to make a choice between political optics and my family," Christie said. "When I have to make a choice between the two, I have never made anything clearer to the people of New Jersey -- I'm picking my family."

He went on to claim that "every beach in New Jersey was opened, except for the one where the Governor's mansion happens to be" -- a claim Wallace denied.

Watch Christie turn his day at the beach into a life-or-death situation below, via MSNBC.