Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said he was willing to take New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) at his word following the governor's one-on-one apology Thursday.
Sokolich described his private meeting with the governor to CNN, saying Christie was "gracious" and "apologetic" when discussing the politically motivated lane closures that caused massive traffic jams in Sokolich's borough.
After leaked emails tied the governor's office to the scandal, Sokolich had expressed concern that Fort Lee would suffer ramifications when the dust settled. Following his meeting with the governor, the mayor was cautiously optimistic.
"We're concerned that there's more stuff and more issues to deal with. ... But we are appreciative here in Fort Lee that the governor came up to apologize," Sokolich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "By no uncertain terms is it closure. By no uncertain terms is it the end of this issue, though it is the beginning of what we're hopeful is a trusting relationship without fear of retribution in the future."
During a press conference Thursday morning, Christie had announced the firing of a key staffer tied to the scandal, apologized and insisted he's "not a bully." Sokolich said the words "tough" and "no nonsense" come to mind when thinking of Christie, but said he doesn't know the governor well enough to label him a bully.
"You need to know him a little better to cast that description on the guy," Sokolich said.
"If somehow it's established that he was involved in this," Sokolich added, "yeah, 'bully' would definitely fit."