With the Super Bowl teams descending on New Jersey this week, embattled Governor Chris Christie took a night off from his many scandals to attend festivities with Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City while keeping the state rivalry alive.
De Blasio and Christie both visited Jersey City Monday night – whose mayor, incidentally, is one of the many accusing Christie of unethical political retribution – to attend a celebration concert in honor of the Super Bowl, now that both the Broncos and the Seahawks have landed in New Jersey. Christie tweeted and instagrammed photos of the pair at the event, ribbing de Blasio by claiming Jersey City was on the “right” side of the Hudson.
De Blasio, on his part, made no mention of the event on social media, his only tweet after the event being an ode to progressive folk singer Pete Seeger. The Mayor’s spokespersons did not give Politicker comment on the affair, either, though de Blasio certainly seems in photos enthralled with the Governor. Those in attendance described the pair as looking like “old friends,” and Christie had noted before the event that he was looking forward to the meeting.
Christie has been vocal in playing up the rivalry between New York and New Jersey, saying in a press conference Monday that, while he was adamant in ensuring the world knew the Super Bowl was occurring in New Jersey, “I’ll be more than happy – I’ll be with Mayor de Blasio tonight, we’ll have fun together; that’s great.”
De Blasio, who recently had to contend with his own grievances as wealthy New Yorkers decried his substandard response to the recent snowstorm, has been critical of Governor Christie before. De Blasio described the scandal now known as “Bridgegate” as “really troubling” and “absolutely inappropriate,” and alleged that, since New Yorkers commuting to the city were also affected by the closing of local George Washington Bridge lanes into Fort Lee, “our people were treated wrong by those bureaucrats.”
Christie, on his part, has also been critical of the progressive mayor, though in much less harsh terms. Christie noted correctly that de Blasio had a plan to raise taxes in the city “aggressively,” and encouraged New Yorkers to “come to New Jersey” to escape the new mayor.
It is believed that this is the first time the two have been seen in public, and they appeared comfortable around each other. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that controls the George Washington Bridge, was created to give both states a say in interstate commuting without the responsibility falling entirely on either. A number of senior officials at the Port Authority, most notably former senior Christie aide David Wildstein, have resigned since the Bridgegate affair first burst onto the national scene.