New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) surprise endorsement of Donald Trump just rocked the political world -- making Christie the first major national GOP figure to endorse the outsider candidate whom the GOP establishment is feverishly trying to figure out how to defeat.
In endorsing Trump, Christie said he would be the best GOP presidential nominee "to stop Hillary Clinton from ever getting in the White House again" and praised him as a substantial political figure.
But it wasn't always this way. In fact, Christie's version of events Friday contrasts sharply with what he had said about Trump just weeks ago, as Trump's competitor for the GOP nomination.
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday said Donald Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attack is "ridiculous," deriding it as "the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they're talking about."
"There's no question in my mind (that it wouldn't), but there are folks in this race who don't care about what the law says because they're used to being able to just fire people indiscriminately on television," said Christie, referencing Trump's decade-long stint on NBC's reality television competition, "The Apprentice."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie strongly refuted Donald Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered after the 9/11 terror attacks, claiming that it simply “didn’t happen.”
“It didn’t happen and the fact is, people can say anything, but the facts are the facts, and that didn’t happen in New Jersey that day and hasn’t happened since,” Christie told reporters on Monday at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
Echoing that theme, Christie two hours later was denying Trump’s ability to command the nation’s military. “We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun, but it’s not the type of leadership that will truly change America,” Christie said on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire. “If we’re going to turn our frustration and anger with the D.C. insiders and the politicians of yesterday and the carnival barkers of today into something that will actually change Americans’ lives, then we must elect someone who has been tested, someone with proven experience.”
At a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., Mr. Christie expressed disbelief at Mr. Trump’s comment Saturday that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and lose no support in the 2016 campaign.
“It’s pretty amazing to say it, isn’t it?” Mr. Christie asked.
Briefly slipping into an impression of Mr. Trump — “We’re stupid,” he deadpanned in a throaty baritone — Mr. Christie said he empathized with voters who want to “burn Washington down.”
“But who’s going to rebuild it once it gets burned down?” Mr. Christie said. “That’s what you’ve got to think about.”
By nominating the wrong candidate, he continued, “We could wind up turning over the White House to Hillary Clinton for four more years.”
That prospect, he said, would be “like the eight years we’ve just had, except worse.”
Update: And then there's this, from Trump on Feb. 1:
"Chris took himself down when he did the George Washington Bridge, and he took himself down when he’s rated number 50 out of 50 in New Jersey," Trump said. "I mean, it’s the 50th worst state, meaning it’s last.”