After attempting a murder-suicide against Marco Rubio in the last debate before the New Hampshire primary — and causing a humiliating performance by Rubio that at least partly explains his dismal fifth-place showing there — Chris Christie is back to torture Rubio once more, this time by openly endorsing Donald Trump.
Christie argued that Trump has the executive experience necessary to be president. "This is only guy on the stage, other than Gov. Kasich, who made executive decisions, made executive decisions throughout his life," Christie said. "Who put together budget and makes sure money is spent efficiently and effectively in order to create profit, and would make sure the country moving forward would get on that kind of track. This guy knows how to do that better than anybody on that stage."
Chris Christie endorses Donald Trump pic.twitter.com/E5DELuLeBn— Abby Livingston (@TexasTribAbby) February 26, 2016
The Trump campaign explained the endorsement in a statement:
Mr. Trump stated, "It is my great honor to receive the endorsement of the Governor. We have had a wonderful relationship for many years. He is a solid person that I have tremendous respect for. I am really proud to receive the support of the Governor and his family."
Governor Christie, who ended his Presidential bid earlier this month following the New Hampshire primary added, "Donald is a leader. He is a successful person that, like me, isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Our system is broken and it won’t be fixed from the inside. I am proud to offer my endorsement of his candidacy for President."
Governor Christie joined Mr. Trump at a campaign event in Texas to officially announce the endorsement and will travel with him to Oklahoma City for a rally later today.
At the Texas event, Trump reiterated his support for a border wall with Mexico paid for by that country, saying, "Mexico will pay for the wall and the wall will get built. And 58, we have right now $58 billion in trade deficit, and the wall is a fractions of that. We'll get it done and Mexico will pay for it. Don't get nervous, don't worry about it, not a big deal."
This came despite Christie personally having mocked Trump for the wall proposal mere weeks ago:
"The core of my criticism of Mr. Trump is this," Christie said, "How? How?"
"He’s gonna build a wall and it’s gonna be an—" Christie changed the tone of his voice to impersonate The Donald—"incredible, beautiful marvelous wall. An incredible wall! The wall is gonna be unbelievable. The wall is gonna have a door, the door is gonna open and close and good people come in, the bad people go out. It’s gonna be an amazing wall. It’s gonna be a beautiful wall—and the Mexicans are gonna pay for the wall because Trump says they’ll pay for the wall."
While he was still in the race, Christie argued that Trump's corporate record doesn't count as executive experience:
This, suffice it to say, has not always been Christie's take on Trump:
Christie used to tell his audience that Trump was "make believe" pic.twitter.com/6FtxUA21lH— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 26, 2016
Trump also took some swings at Christie during the campaign, for his part:
How is Chris Christie running the state of NJ, which is deeply troubled, when he is spending all of his time in NH? New Jerseyans not happy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2015
That being said, the two have described each other as friends for years:
Proud to see my friend Governor Chris Christie standing up for Israel on his visit. Standing tall!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2012
And there had been rumblings in the days preceding the endorsement that Christie was leaning in this direction. In a since-deleted passage, Yahoo's Jon Ward reported speculation from New Jersey Republicans that Christie might endorse Trump to jockey for the post of attorney general in a Trump administration:
Explains a lot (@jonward11 on @GovChristie): https://t.co/mZFN2GyKe3 pic.twitter.com/Bqxd84vLka— Reihan Salam (@reihan) February 25, 2016