Fort Lee mayor praises Christie: ‘I take him at his word’ after meeting over bridge scandal
Fort Lee, New Jersey Mayor Mark Sokolich (D) said Gov. Chris Christie (R) was sincere in a Thursday meeting following Christie’s two-hour press conference addressing the suspicious lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
“I take him for his word,” Sokolich told CNN host Wolf Blitzer. “Listening intently to the press conference today, there was no in-between. There was nothing but unequivocal statements that he had absolutely no knowledge. He repeated those statements during the course of our interview.”
Sokolich also expressed gratitude on behalf of his community for the ongoing investigation into the September 2013 closures, which brought traffic around Fort Lee to a standstill.
Christie announced on Thursday that he fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who apparently ordered the governor’s longtime friend David Wildstein, who was appointed to a position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to orchestrate four days of gridlock on the bridge. However, Sokolich described it as an isolated incident.
“I have no knowledge of any other retribution being aimed at the borough of Fort Lee,” Sokolich said to Blitzer.
But, contrary to Christie’s claim that Sokolich was “not even on [his] radar screen at all,” Blitzer produced pictures of Sokolich meeting with Christie and standing behind him at a December 2011 press conference calling for reforms to state sick and vacation pay regulations. Sokolich was one of 234 mayors supporting Christie on the issue.
“I guess I don’t have the impact on people that I thought I had, I guess,” Sokolich told Christie. “You’d have to ask him that question. I was also surprised when I heard that he didn’t know me or he couldn’t pick me out of a lineup. In light of what’s going on, I’m not so sure that’s the best term to use.”
Watch Blitzer’s interview with Sokolich, as aired on CNN on Thursday, below.