In a surprising move on Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump, saying that the GOP front-runner is “rewriting the playbook of American politics” and the “best choice” for president.
Before singing his former Republican presidential rival’s high praises, Christie had often blasted Trump for his derisive and insulting language on the campaign trail and controversial proposals, including a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border. But on Friday, Christie said he “absolutely appreciate[s] him as a person and as a friend.”
Here are some moments on the campaign trail when the governor questioned Trump’s leadership:
Trump acts like a ‘13-year-old’
Christie blasted the business mogul and questioned his effort to lead the Republican Party after Trump’s refusal to participate in a Fox News-sponsored debate last month. He said that Trump, who expressed concerns about the network’s coverage of him, was acting like a “13-year-old” instead of someone who was ready to become president.
“What’s that tell you about what we can expect if things go sideways when you go into the Oval Office? What are you going to do? Just go upstairs to the residence and say, ‘I’m not playing’?” he asked. “You know, ‘Vladimir Putin isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to return his phone call’? ‘The press isn’t being nice to me, I’m not going to hold any more press conferences’?”
Plan to ban Muslims is ‘ridiculous’
When Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” the governor rebuked the idea, saying, “This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don’t know what they’re talking about.” Trump’s plan came in response to the San Bernardino shooting, which President Obama called “an act of terrorism.” Christie used Trump’s controversial proposal to point out that the mogul doesn’t understand the Constitution. “In my view, that’s a ridiculous position,” Christie said.
Entertainer in chief
Speaking to his supporters in Iowa last December, Christie said, “We do not need reality TV in the Oval Office right now. President of the United States is not a place for an entertainer.” He compared his credentials with those of the former host of NBC’s reality show “The Apprentice.”
At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month, Christie didn’t mention Trump by name but told supporters, “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.”
Border wall ‘makes no sense”
Time and time again, Trump has insisted that the Mexican government will pay for a wall that he will build at the U.S.’s southern border to prevent immigrants from crossing over. Christie dismissed the idea in a CNN interview, saying, “This makes no sense. I have met the [Mexican] president a number of times. I think if we present him with a bill, he is not going to pay for it.”
Trump doesn’t know how to handle problems
At a campaign rally last year, Trump came under intense fire for not correcting a supporter who claimed that President Obama is Muslim.
“[Trump’s] got to decide how serious a candidate he wants to be, and how he handles different problems like this are going to determine that in the eyes of the American people,” Christie said on the “Today” show.