Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump In Surprise Announcement

He said Trump is the GOP's best shot at defeating Hillary Clinton.

02/26/2016 12:57 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2016

In a surprise move on Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) endorsed Donald Trump for president.

Christie, a former rival of Trump's for the GOP nomination, appeared with him at a press conference in Fort Worth, Texas, and said he was best equipped to defeat Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

"There is no one who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership it needs than Donald Trump," Christie said to stunned silence. "He'll provide strong unequivocal leadership [and] create jobs for this country."

"Trump is rewriting the playbook of American politics," Christie added, saying he's prepared to do everything he can to help Trump win in November. 

Christie stressed what he views as Trump's electability, saying the billionaire is "someone who is going to lead the Republican party to victory in November over Hillary Clinton, which is the single most important thing we can do."

Christie also took the opportunity to attack Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who landed a few punches on Trump in Thursday night's GOP debate. Rubio upped the ante Friday morning, calling Trump a "con artist." 

"I heard some of Sen. Rubio's comments this morning," Christie said. "None of them were about the people of this country...[or] the fact that middle class folks in this country are suffering.

"We can't any longer as a country stand up and defend ourselves around the world because we have a leader who wrings his hands," he added. "I didn't hear any of that this morning from Senator Rubio." 

The suggestion that Rubio and his fellow senators were all talk and no action was a line of attack that Christie used successfully in past GOP debates. 

While the Trump endorsement was certainly a surprise, it was not a total about-face for Christie. The pugnacious New Jersey governor avoided directly attacking Trump while the two men were running for president, a choice that left some people scratching their heads. 

"There were plenty of people shooting at Donald over the course of this time," Christie told NBC after he dropped out of the race following a disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary. “The guy I needed to take on in New Hampshire was Marco Rubio.”

Trump is in the process of making campaign stops across the South and Midwest ahead of next week's Super Tuesday primary battles. Expect to see Christie on the campaign trail this weekend.

Editor's Note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist,birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S. 

CONVERSATIONS