This afternoon (February 26th) Chris Christie, former GOP candidate for President, announced his endorsement of Donald Trump for President. On the surface this is unsurprising: Christie has vocalized many times his deep dislike for Trump’s two main rivals: Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Christie also shares a total disregard for conservative principles that Trump has embraced during this campaign (and his whole life for that matter) which is polar opposite of the values that both Rubio and Cruz have held and stood for during their political careers.
While Christie was unsuccessful with his own campaign, he now expects to ride Trump’s coattails for the Vice-President spot on Trump’s ticket.
It is not surprising to see how hypocritical and opportunistic both of these men can be on the campaign trail. I say this not because they are former opponents, but because they have attacked and demeaned each other with a great deal of vigor. Apparently Christie has forgiven Trump’s assertion from earlier this year that Christie was a “little boy” during President Obama’s visit to new Jersey, as well as his many other insults. Christie himself has insulted Trump many times: starting with calling Trump self-absorbed (November 2015), criticizing Trump’s behavior on Twitter (November 2015), suggesting that his temperament as shown on reality TV was not fit for the Oval Office (December 2015), and asserting that Trump had no details behind any of his grand plans (January 2016). But now Christie has sold out to Trump for a chance to be number 2 to Trump’s lunacy.
This seems familiar; it reminds me of Christie palling around with Obama like best friends a few years ago.
Trump is taking Christie’s endorsement happily, because he is worried about his chances. Before Thursday’s debate Trump has hardly had to stand up to any real, vigorous opposition. Jeb Bush had any sort of success challenging Trump on the issues. However, Jeb was largely unsuccessful due to his temperament. Jeb Bush is closer to the elder statesman: dignified, intelligent, but hardly combative. Unfortunately Bush was simply not up to the task of taking on Trump.
Last night another challenger emerged to take Trump to task, and Christie’s endorsement might suggest that the encounter rattled Trump.
Marco Rubio did not simply challenge Trump during the debate. Rubio took Trump to task, and eventually taunted him on his language and lack of details on policy. Donald Trump, in his own words, is used to winning. His frequent assertions to being a winner and making things great are almost reminiscent of a political version of Charlie Sheen. During the debate Rubio brought up Trump’s past failures, hammered him on policy, and mocked him for essentially being a spoiled rich kid. Trump did not take that well. Rubio has not let up either; during an event Friday morning Rubio went as far as to suggest that Trump wet himself during the debate.
Trump is not accustomed to such fierce criticism on the campaign trail from his opponents. His own tactics of personal attacks, innuendos, and being spoken over were employed successfully against him by both Rubio and Cruz. Trump left the debate shaken and decided to call in reinforcements in the form of Chris Christie. Trump has frequently trumpeted (no pun intended) his lack of endorsement by “the establishment”. That seems to be over.
This race deserves an even closer watch. And no, not the kind of watch that Trump would be selling if not for his multi-million dollar inheritance.