Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford wants to challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “mano-a-mano” after the governor publicly scolded him yesterday for “urg[ing] people to stay in shelters in the city.”
Atlantic City was one of the first cities underwater on Monday, flooding well ahead of Superstorm Sandy’s arrival over the Jersey shore Monday evening.
“[F]or whatever reason, Mayor Langford urged people to stay in shelters in the city. Despite my admonition to evacuate, he gave them comfort for some reason to stay,” Christie said during a Monday evening press conference.
Christie said it would be too dangerous to attempt rescues of those residents who chose to wait out the storm inside Atlantic City.
“And so I asked these people to leave. For some reason, the mayor, in his initial conversations with the public, told them he didn’t want his people leaving Atlantic City,” Christie said. “So you got people staying , either self sheltering in their homes or sheltering in some city shelters there, one of which is literally a block away from the bay, in a school, which is now flooded, completely.”
“So for those of you who are on the barrier islands who decided it was a better idea to wait this out than to evacuate, and for those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility,” the governor said. “We will not be able to come and help you until daylight tomorrow.”
Langford reacted to the criticism on NBC’s Today Show Tuesday morning, rebuking the governor for being “dead wrong” and challenging him to hash it out “mano-a-mano.”
“Let me say this, the governor is either misinformed or ill-advised, or simply just decided to prevaricate. That is not what happened,” insisted Langford, though he wouldn’t elaborate when pressed by host Matt Lauer.
Instead, Langford accused Christie of playing politics.
“Isn’t it sad, here we are in the throws of a major catastrophe and the governor has chosen a time such as this to play politics. I think it’s reprehensible that he would stoop to the level to try and make a political situation out of something that is so serious as the situation we are in now.”
As the interview closed, Lauer offered to arrange a joint interview between the two politicians.
“I would love nothing better than that, then to confront the governor mano-a-mano,” said Langford.