In a long, rambling statehouse news conference in Trenton that was alternately combative and jocular, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Thursday brushed back questions about his demeanor on Super Tuesday as he stood blankly behind Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“No. I wasn’t being held hostage,” Christie said, pushing back against “armchair psychiatrists.” He added that since the Tuesday event was more of a news conference than rally, “I was standing there listening to him.” Speaking Thursday shortly after 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney blasted Trump as a “fraud” who is “playing the American public for suckers,” Christie said “Mitt Romney is a very, very good friend of mine … we have a difference of opinion.” He refused to blast the former Massachusetts governor but did say “I know much more about [Trump] than Governor Romney does.”
Responding to criticism in the Legislature and the media that he’s been away from the state too long with his own campaign and now Trump’s, Christie responded, “I am here. I am back at work.”
He said repeatedly that he had every intention to continue serving until his term ends in January 2018. After that, he said, he intends to head to the private sector, and is not lobbying for a position in a possible Trump administration.
“You don’t interview for those jobs,” Christie said.
The governor emphasized several times that he has been friends with Trump for 14 years and will not be a full-time surrogate for him.
“This is not my campaign,” he said, “This is Mr. Trump’s campaign.”
Asked what would happen if another Republican displaced Trump, Christie said, “I’ll support the nominee of our party,” he said. He also warned about efforts to halt Trump anywhere but at the ballot box, alluding to a possible brokered convention.
“I don’t think Republicans do well when we tell the voters they’re wrong,” he said, adding, “The voters are the voters. They get to decide.”
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