Chris Christie on Trump: “No, I Wasn’t Being Held Hostage”
Chris Christie got the most attention of this presidential election season on Tuesday. Unfortunately for him, he’d already dropped out of the race weeks earlier. Christie got all the attention for the faces he made while standing behind Donald Trump during the latter’s victory speech that night. (Our own Joel Mathis collected 10 of the best “silent scream” memes yesterday.)
Christie endorsed Trump last Friday; a move that sparked a huge backlash. The New Hampshire Union-Leader, which supported Christie in that state’s primary, wrote an editorial apologizing for that choice.
After cavorting around with Christie over the weekend and into Super Tuesday and giving a press conference where he refused to answer questions about the Trump endorsement, six Gannett newspapers in New Jersey called on him to resign in a joint editorial. They went even further than that: If Christie doesn’t resign, the papers said the state’s citizens should initiate a recall effort.
Today, Christie gave one of his old-fashioned freewheeling press conferences where he did take questions about his endorsement of Trump, the newspapers’ editorial and whatever else reporters asked of him.
“All these armchair psychologists should give it a break … I could care less,” Christie said about the mockery his appearance behind Trump on Super Tuesday invited. “No, I wasn’t being held hostage. No, I wasn’t sitting up there thinking, ‘Oh my God, what have I done.’ I was standing up there supporting the person who I believe is the best person to beat Hillary Clinton of the remaining Republican candidates. I understand everybody had a lot of fun with it. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve had a lot of fun with people on the Internet at times too.”
Christie said he is not the type of person to sit on the sidelines and not endorse a candidate for president. He said he whittled down the candidates before deciding on Trump. “I was just as critical of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz as I was of Donald Trump,” he said. “But remember the difference of what I’ve said about them: They have no executive experience. I could not support a first-term United States senator … I narrowed it down to someone with executive experience, either Donald Trump or John Kasich.”
Christie says he wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in November in any situation, like former Republican Gov. Christine Whitman said she would if Trump is the nominee. “I’m surprised she could,” he said.
Christie said he wouldn’t change anything despite the criticism he received Tuesday. “I stood where they asked me to stand. What do I care?” Christie said. “Do you think I really care … I really don’t. Next week there’ll be an Internet freakout about something else. And the next week there will be an Internet freakout about something else. And the next week, something else. When you’ve been in this business as long as I have, you learn everything is temporary. What matters is what’s in here. I know what’s in here, and I know what I was thinking on that stage: ‘Holy cow, we’re going to win seven states. This guy is going to be the nominee for president of the United States.’”
Christie said he wouldn’t be campaigning with Trump in the near future, and that he’d been in New Jersey for 19 of the 22 days since dropping out. He said he’d be going on vacation next week for his 30th wedding anniversary. He said the newspapers calling for his resignation were “trying to find some way to be relevant as circulation declines.”
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