New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed GOP front-runner Donald Trump on Friday following a disastrous debate performance on Thursday night, but just weeks ago Chris Christie told Republican voters that voting for someone like Trump would give Hillary Clinton the keys to the White House.
At a townhall in New Hampshire on January 24, Christie repeatedly attacked Trump, criticizing his temperament, his policy proposals, and his ability to beat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in a general election, according to an account of the event published by the New York Times:
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.”
Christie even mocked Trump’s immigration promises about building a wall along the Mexican border during an extended impersonation of the flamboyant New York reality television star.
“How is he going to make the Mexicans pay for a wall?” an exasperated Christie asked. “How? They’re a sovereign nation,” Christie said as the crowd roared with laughter.
Earlier in the month, Christie also attacked Trump’s background and lack of experience, saying America needed a leader, not a TV star.
“Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief,” told a New Hampshire crowd on January 4, according to USA Today. “Showmanship is fun, but it is not the kind of leadership that will truly change America.”
Trump returned the favor, attacking Christie as an incompetent and corrupt public official.
“His state is No. 50 out of 50 economically,” Trump said of New Jersey under Christie’s stewardship. He then followed that up with an attack on Christie’s handling of Bridgegate.
“How could they close down the largest and most traveled bridge in the U.S. and he didn’t know about it?” Trump asked rhetorically.
At Friday’s press conference announcing the endorsement, neither Trump nor Christie explained the disparity between today’s flowery endorsement rhetoric and their previous attacks on each other as being unfit to lead the U.S.