Fort Lee, N.J., mayor Mark Sokolich told me on last night’s Kudlow Report that New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s statement regarding the politically motivated closure incident at the George Washington Bridge lacks credibility. Here’s the video of my conversation with Sokolich, as well as a report on the interview by CNBC’s Ross LeClair.
Fort Lee Mayor: Holes in Christie’s Story
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he was unaware of the decision to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September that gridlocked traffic in a town run by a Democratic mayor.
The governor, who is contemplating a run for the Republican presidential nomination, made the statement after the release Wednesday of communications that provide more evidence that his office planned the closures, apparently because Fort Lee’s mayor did not endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow that Christie’s statement issued after the release of the emails lacks credibility.
“There’s definitely, I think, some holes in that statement,” Sokolich said. “The governor had convened a meeting with his top staff not too long ago, and promptly after the meeting proclaimed that no one on his staff knew about it.”
Sokolich added that he was personally making phone calls after the traffic jam in an attempt to get answers from the Port Authority as to when and why the closures were planned.
“I think we’re documented 20 calls during that four-day period, I can assure you it was a lot more than that,” Sokolich said. “You may rest assured that the excuse that ‘Yeah I missed your call, sorry about that’ isn’t plausible.”
Despite his anger, Sokolich does not want the governor to apologize to him. He says the apology is better directed at the people who were impacted by the traffic jam.
“If calls are going to be made, call the families that waited two to three times longer for an ambulance to arrive while their loved one was clutching their chest because of chest pains,” Sokolich said. “Call the thousands of parents that couldn’t get their kids to school on time on the first day of school and the three or four days thereafter.”
In his statement Wednesday, Christie said: “What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”
Ultimately, Sokolich says his job is to protect the people of Fort Lee, not to speculate about Christie.
“I’m not rooting for him to have known about it,” he said. “My job is to worry about Fort Lee.”