Mark Sokolich–the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ, who was the apparent target of the Christie administration’s “bridgegate” operation–says that his first reaction to news of the scandal was “disbelief.”
“Who would close down lanes to the busiest bridge in the world to get to me?” he joked on All In with Chris Hayes on Wednesday evening. “I’ve never viewed myself as being that important. The governor himself said that I’m not on his radar.”
The “bridgegate” emails released Wednesday morning show that a lane closure on the George Washington Bridge in September–which created havoc for drivers between New York and New Jersey–had been ordered by a deputy chief of staff to Chris Christie and was politically motivated.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in an email to David Wildstein, a Christie-appointed executive at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge.
One email written by Wildstein takes direct aim at Mayor Sokolich, a Democrat who had endorsed Christie’s opponent: “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian.”
Actually, the mayor is Croatian.
“From the moment this happened we went through an absolute incessant effort to contact someone at the Port Authority…We called [Port Authority] 20, 30 times, 40 times,” Mayor Sokolich told Chris Hayes. ”We had families looking for emergency services, to respond to 911 calls. Calls that take 3 minutes were taking 11 and 12 minutes… and on top of that we had thousands of kids late for the first day of school,” he said.
When asked if Governor Christie has called him to apologize, Mayor Sokolich replied, “No.”
“Don’t do me any favors. Don’t reach out for me,” Sokolich said. “You need to reach out to the families who were waiting for ambulances taking three times longer to get there. You need to reach out the thousands of families that couldn’t get their kids to school.”
And as for the man who joked about Sokolich’s ethnicity, the mayor said, “David Wildstein deserves an a__-kicking. Sorry, there, I said it.”
Sokolich stood by his gubernatorial endorsement of Democrat Barbara Buono. “I didn’t endorse Governor Christie because I am a follower, believer and supporter of Democratic principles.”
Chris Christie released a statement condemning the emails. “One thing is clear. This type of behavior is unacceptable, and I will not tolerate it; because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way; and people will be held responsible for their actions,” said Christie.