The New Jersey governor, the guy who’d filleted Rubio at another recent GOP debate, joined Trump at his morning news conference in Fort Worth, Texas and wasted no time getting back to work:
“Rubio is wholly unprepared to be President of the United States,” Christie snarled, saying Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich last night at the debate were the “only guys on stage last night who’ve had to make executive decisions.”
Christie told viewers watching the widely-covered news conference to “turn away from the amateur acts,” calling the reality TV star “the one person Hillary and Bill do not want to see” nominated as the GOP White House candidate. “They know how to run the playbook for junior senators,” Christie snarked, in re Rubio and Ted Cruz. “The best person to beat Hillary Clinton, on that stage last night, is Donald Trump,” thumping Hillary Clinton being “the single most important thing we can do.”
Christie’s surprise announcement dramatically turned around the news cycle the morning after 14.5 million people watched Trump’s pounding at the CNN/Telemundo debate. (Christie, who said he made up his mind to endorse Trump last night after watching that debate, also gets credit for taking the wind out of Rubio’s stump speech this morning, in which he’d continued shredding Trump’s record.)
So much so that, after Christie’s surprise announcement, Rubio got asked if he will support Trump as the GOP nominee. “He’s not going to be the nominee,” Rubio shot back at the reporter. “The Republican part will be split apart if he’s the nominee.”
Christie and Trump’s admiration for each other this morning may have confused some voters. Christie, when still a candidate, told them, of candidate Trump, “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.” Trump, in turn, previously had suggested Christie was behind the politically motivated 2013 George Washington Bridge lane snarling known as Bridgegate.
“This is the endorsement that really meant a lot… this is the one endorsement I felt very strongly I wanted to get,” Trump said on stage with Christie at his news conference. During Q&A, Christie dodged reporters’ questions as to whether he would become Trump’s running mate, except to say his term in office runs out in January of ’18 after which he intends to “go into private life and make money like Trump.” Trump previously had said he would look for someone with a political background to be his running mate.
Christie dismissed reporters’ suggestions Rubio had taken a toll on Trump last night.
“Desperate people do desperate things in campaigns,” Christie described last night’s debate performance. “The idea Marco Rubio can get inside Trump’s head” is only being taken seriously by reporters, he added.
The news conference came a couple hours after Rubio held his own, describing backstage at last night at CNN’s GOP debate. During a commercial break, Trump “was having a meltdown” applying makeup to fix his “sweat mustache,” Rubio joked. “Then he asked for a full length mirror. I don’t know why because the podium goes up to here –maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet.”
Rubio also read some of Trump’s tweets from this morning in which Trump misspelled the words “choker” as “chocker,” “lightweight” as “leightweight,” and “honor” as “honer” (since cleaned up on Trump’s Twitter account).
“I don’t know how he got that wrong because the ‘e’ and the ‘o’ are nowhere near each other on the keyboard,” Rubio quipped. “I can only reach two conclusions: No. 1 that’s how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business” Trump attended, “or, like Trump Towers, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his tweets.”
“It’s time to pull his mask off, so that people can see what we are dealing with here. What we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist,” Rubio told rally attendees. “He runs on this idea he is fighting for the little guy. But he has spent his entire career sticking it to the little guy.”
Trump responded in kind this morning. “I’ll tell you about backstage,” Trump began, insisting it was Rubio who was surrounded with “a pile of makeup” during a commercial break. “I said, Marco, easy with the makeup. You don’t need that much!”
Rubio, Trump sneered, was “putting it on with a trowel.”
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