U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has broken his silence to address the scandal that has overtaken the city where he served as mayor until only a few months ago.
Foxx, whose departure for Washington eventually cleared the path for Patrick Cannon to be elected mayor, said he was disappointed by news that his former colleague had been arrested on public corruption charges.
“It’s sad,” Foxx said in a statement Friday. “I share the deep disappointment and personal sentiments expressed by other former leaders of Charlotte. The city is bigger than any one person, and now is a time for pulling together and moving forward.”
Gov. Pat McCrory, also a former Charlotte mayor, has reacted with similar statements since details emerged Wednesday of the FBI’s case against Cannon.
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Foxx and Cannon, both Democrats, served on the Charlotte City Council together and were sometimes seen as rivals.
Voters elected Cannon to council in 1993. When he won his first race, he was considered a rising star, the youngest person, at age 26, to win a council race. He briefly ran for mayor in 2005 but pulled out before the election.
Foxx joined City Council that year and rose quickly. In 2009, he was elected mayor.
When news of the arrest broke earlier this week, Foxx’s aides said he would have no comment.
The White House has also declined to comment, but officials said they did not know about the investigation in December 2013 when Cannon made his first visit to the White House as mayor.
Foxx was already sworn in as transportation secretary. He took over that job in July of last year.