Saying “this was an endorsement that really meant a lot” and “this is the one endorsement I felt very strongly about,” Donald J. Trump, a pro-Planned Parenthood New York liberal running in the GOP presidential primary today accepted the endorsement of liberal New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Christie endorsed Trump at a rally in Texas, which joins other states in holding its presidential primary on March 1, next Tuesday.
That a New Jersey liberal Republican would endorse a New York liberal Republican isn’t terribly unforeseen except for the fact that both Trump and Christie threw hard punches at each other before Christie left the GOP nomination fight after the New Hampshire primary.
“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 declared in New Hampshire in early January. Time reported that Christie suggested Trump was not a “grown up” who should be president.
“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,” Christie told Fox News in 2015. “I don’t think his temperament is suited for that and I don’t think his experience is.”
An another interview Christie complained of Trump: “He sits in his jammies in Trump Tower and phones in” regarding his appearance on various news shows.
Meanwhile, Trump hasn’t been shy about criticizing Christie.
Calling Christie “a little child,” Trump said that Christie’s embrace of President Barack Obama made him think Christie was going to endorse the Democratic presidential candidate. “When I saw it, I said I think he’s going to vote for Obama,” he said in December.
On February 1, Trump blasted Christie for being an unsuccessful governor of New Jersey. Politico reported that Trump said in a news appearance, “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. I mean, it’s the 50th worst state, meaning it’s last.”
The kiss-and-make-up session in Texas comes as Trump appears to want a dedicated attack dog to focus on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who, along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, savaged Trump in the final GOP debate before next Tuesday’s spate of primaries. In the last debate before the New Hampshire primary Christie managed to knock Rubio off message leading to a performance widely seen as Rubio’s worst debate on the presidential trail.
It is also worth noting that Trump and Christie are and were the two GOP candidates this year who evolved the most away from previous positions to embrace newfound conservative principles. In the mid-1990s Christie was ardently pro-choice, but by the time he reached Iowa last year he had completed his conversion to the pro-life cause. As late as 1999, Trump was telling the media that he was pro-choice, something that Evangelicals who now support him continually overlook.
There should be no doubt about it, both Trump and Christie are East Coast liberals at heart and their mutual affection should come as no surprise. The endorsement also had the added affect of shifting media coverage away from Trump’s poor performance in Thursday night’s debate.