On Friday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed GOP frontrunner Donald Trump for president. Christie, who dropped out of the race just a few weeks ago, said in a press conference that he's “proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump.” He also said that as president, Trump “will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again."
Christie's words today are surprising—especially given how vocal his criticism of Trump has been in this whirlwind, smackdown of a primary race. Up until today, you would certainly believe Christie does not think Trump will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again.
To understand this apparent change of heart, it's helpful to look back at what Christie has said about Trump in the press from the past few months:
August, 2015: "Donald's a great guy and a good person. But I just don't think that he's suited to be president of the United States… I don't think his temperament is suited for that and I don't think his experience is."
November, 2015: "When you're running for president of the United States, everything that comes out of your mouth matters… I've said all along that Donald Trump will be as serious a candidate as he wants to be… And I have to tell you that I think that kind of stuff is not the kind of stuff that a candidate for the president of the United States should be talking about."
December, 2015: "This is not a game where you're puffing out your chest and who can be the biggest toughest guy in public… It's about who can run the country. And I believe the people of Iowa, like you, and folks in New Hampshire will make that decision based on what they think is best for the country."
December, 2015: "You’ve got a group of folks like Jeb Bush and John Kasich and Marco Rubio who are the people that I’m really competing with in New Hampshire… I don’t feel, at the moment, directly in competition with Donald Trump."
December, 2015: "You do not need to be banning Muslims from the country. That's, in my view, that's a ridiculous position and one that won't even be productive."
December, 2015: "We do not need reality TV in the Oval Office right now."
January, 2016: "Donald is a unique character… What you see is what you get. He's not going to change once he becomes president. If you think all of a sudden he's going to hear 'Hail to the Chief 'and he's not going to be doing the stuff he's doing now, my experience is not consistent with that. Now some people might see that as an asset.I don't know. I don't know if that's the best way to be president of the United States."
January, 2016: “The kind of person you want to vote for, the kind of person you want in the Oval Office, and the kind of person you want to stand on the stage next September against Hillary Rodham Clinton is not a person that when one thing goes sideways, when one things seems not fair, they’re just going to walk away and take their marbles and go away.”
January, 2016: "He sits in his jammies in Trump Tower and phones in. You guys don't let any of the rest of us do that."
January, 2016: "Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America."
Now it's February, and Christie—himself known for hurling insults and generally being angry—seems to think that the stuff Trump is doing now is actually the best way to be president. Or maybe this is jut another way for Christie to show Trump rival Marco Rubio—who Christie called "a pile of makeup" during the endorsement—how much he doesn't like him (a lot).
It's worth noting that there was a time when Christie was considered a GOP darling, and that his endorsement is the first from a mainstream Republican politician. This hopefully doesn't mean that Trump will see more support from the Republican party, but you never know!
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.