Widget Image
Follow PPD Social Media
Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeNewsAfter Apology For ‘Abject Stupidity,’ Christie And Fort Lee Mayor Have ‘Productive’ Meeting

After Apology For ‘Abject Stupidity,’ Christie And Fort Lee Mayor Have ‘Productive’ Meeting

christie and fort lee
christie and fort lee

Photo: AP/Fox News

Gov. Chris Christie and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich both said the meeting between the two Thursday night was “productive,” a staunch reversal from earlier comments made by Sokolich.

Earlier during a press conference, Gov. Chris Christie said he planned to personally apologize to Sokolich and Fort Lee residents for top aides engineering lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee — one of New York City’s busiest commuter entry areas — in what many have characterized as a bully-style payback for the Fort Lee mayor not endorsing Gov. Christie’s reelection campaign.

Christie initially said the closures were the result of a study commissioned to increase commuter access for the Fort Lee area, but newly disclosed emails and text messages between the governor’s top aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, to his appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey surfaced, which suggested the lane closures were political payback for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich not endorsing Christie’s 2013 reelection campaign.

Sokolich, who endorsed Christie in his first bid for governor, said earlier today that he didn’t want Christie to come to Fort Lee, saying a visit would be “premature and disruptive.” When asked by a reporter to respond to the mayor’s comments, he said he would go and face the music, regardless. “If he doesn’t want to meet with me today, I’m still going to go up to Fort Lee today . . . because I think it’s important to apologize to folks,” Gov. Christie said.

Worth noting, and absent from most reporting, Sokolich told CNN last night he didn’t recall anyone from Christie’s campaign reaching out to him for his endorsement.

At the press conference, Gov. Christie repeatedly took responsibility and apologized to the people of New Jersey, claiming that although he was unaware of the actions of his team, he was the governor and is responsible for them.

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Christie said, stating that he was “blind-sided” and shocked at the “abject stupidity” of Bridget Anne Kelly, who “lied” to him when he asked senior staffers roughly 4 weeks ago if there was any truth behind the accusations regarding the lane closures.

“I’ve terminated her employment because she lied to me,” referring to the conversation between Christie and his staff that transpired 1 hour before a press conference in December, during which the governor was reassured by Kelly that the attacks were unfounded.

“That was obviously a lie. And the emails that I saw for the first time yesterday morning, when they broken in I believe the Bergen Record story, proved that that was a lie,” he said.

He said he has fired Kelly, “effective immediately.” He also cracked down on his former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, for his involvement in the incident. To be sure, many Democrats will not be satisfied, as it has become a mission to tear down the man they know is leading Hillary Clinton in early polling on the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats have contended that the governor keeps a very closely knit team, and they find it hard to believe that he would not know about the purpose of the closures. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. told reporters in the Capitol yesterday, “I think the worst is yet to come. The young lady [Kelly] did not just wake up one morning … and decide, ‘Let’s screw up the traffic in Fort Lee’.”

In response to that charge, Christie said:

I will tell you, though, it’s been written a lot over the last couple of days about what a tight-knit staff I have and how closely everyone works together, and that is true. And ever since the time I was U.S. attorney, I’ve engendered the sense and feeling among the people closest to me that we’re a family, and we work together and we tell each other truth, we support each other when we need to be supported, and we admonish each other when we need to be admonished. I am heartbroken that someone who I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the last five years betrayed my trust.

Gov. Christie also said that he would fully cooperate with the independent investigation at the same time he conducts his own.

“So I take this action today because it’s my job. I am responsible for what happened. I am sad to report to the people of New Jersey that we fell short.”

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

No comments

leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

People's Pundit Daily
You have %%pigeonMeterAvailable%% free %%pigeonCopyPage%% remaining this month. Get unlimited access and support reader-funded, independent data journalism.

Start a 14-day free trial now. Pay later!

Start Trial