By John Celock
Weeks after ending his own presidential campaign, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has become the first governor in the country to endorse Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.
In a Friday speech in Fort Worth, Christie said that he and his wife, Mary Pat, have been long time friends with Trump and his wife, Melania, and cited his previous work with Trump in New Jersey. The endorsement represents Christie’s departure from the establishment lane of Republican presidential politics, which has become dominated by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of Christie’s most critical opponents during the presidential contest in New Hampshire.
“The best person to beat Hillary Clinton on that stage last night is undoubtedly Donald Trump,” Christie said.
This was Christie’s return to presidential politics and national stage since departing the field after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire earlier this month. Christie has been largely absent from the public eye since leaving the presidential race, appearing once to deliver his annual budget address to the New Jersey Legislature in Trenton. Christie missed the annual dinner of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Thursday night, where the governor traditionally gives a speech. Christie’s role as the main speaker at the dinner was taken instead by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D).
Christie downplayed speculation that he was endorsing the Republican frontrunner in an effort to secure the vice presidential nomination or a cabinet position in a Trump Administration. Speculation has been that Christie, a former U.S. attorney, has his eye on the attorney general’s post in a Republican administration.
Christie, who is term limited as governor, said that his intention is to serve as governor until his term expires at noon on Jan. 19, 2018. He then said that he wanted to go into the private sector, joking about how his wife, a Wall Street executive, has long out earned him.
“I’d like one time before I die to make more money in a year than she does,” he said.