Chris Christie is not being held hostage, he tells reporters.
At a press conference this afternoon in Trenton, N.J., the New Jersey Governor responded to the wide-spread mockery of him online after he stood behind Donald Trump during his press conference in Florida after Super Tuesday.
Many viewers of the press conference mocked Christie’s facial expressions, suggesting that he was being “held hostage” or was regretting his decision to support Trump.
“All these armchair psychologists should give it a break.” he said. “No, I wasn’t being held hostage, no, I wasn’t sitting up there thinking ‘Oh my god, what have I done.'”
Christie admitted that a lot of people had “fun” mocking him on the internet, but that he was quite comfortable with his endorsement of Trump, noting their 14-year-long friendship.
“You never look good standing behind someone,” he admitted.
Christie also addressed video of Trump telling him to go home on the plane after the New Jersey governor introduced him – a moment which exploded online causing his critics to ruthlessly mock him. He said that Trump was urging him to go home to his family rather than stay and watch his lengthy campaign speech.
“The Internet will move on,” he said dismissively. “The Internet’s the Internet. It giveth and it taketh away, I don’t care. It really doesn’t matter to me.”
Christie’s press conference was over an hour and a half long, and he spoke at length about his decision to endorse Trump, his own failed Republican campaign, and his assessment of the presidential race.
Christie responded to questions about Trump’s unsavory behavior and defended his failure to denounce the KKK and David Duke as a “bad interview.”
“Everybody can have a bad interview” he said, pointing out that Trump had not only disavowed David Duke before the CNN interview and after the CNN interview.
He also responded to Mitt Romney’s speech earlier in the day, pointing out that he disagreed with the former governor of Massachusetts even though they were friends.
“I totally disagree, because I know Donald Trump and he’s not a bigot,” Christie said, asserting that he had known Trump for years. “Donald Trump is someone I think who has given opportunity to a lot of people of a lot of different backgrounds.”
He also suggested that by failing to endorse a candidate himself, Romney wasn’t being sincere.
“I have great respect for Gov. Romney, and I’m sure that there are others in the race who wish that you know, he would make an endorsement soon,” he said. “But he has chosen not to do that.”
He criticized all Republicans who were critical of Trump, without standing up to endorse a candidate themselves. The Republican leaders who failed to stand up and endorse a candidate, he pointed out, were among the ones that complaining the loudest that Trump was the only one left.
“I don’t think Republicans do well, by telling the voters they’re wrong,” Christie said. “I mean I just don’t understand this.”
He also pointed to conservative media outlets who criticized him, noting that they would “ultimately come on board” with the notion that Trump could beat Hillary Clinton.
“I’m just a little bit ahead of them,” he said.
Christie also pointed out that he was not about to endorse a first term senator for president and criticized Marco Rubio for mocking Trump personally.
“I don’t agree with Marco Rubio standing up and referencing the size of people’s hands, as a qualification for president of the United States,” he said. “I don’t think that’s extraordinarily presidential.”
Christie also discussed at length the fate of his own presidential campaign, at one point saying that without Trump getting in the race, he would be the nominee.
He said he had “no regrets” about his own campaign, only that he hadn’t raised more money. The size of the field, Christie said, was partially to blame for not allowing any of the governors to succeed.
Governor Jeb Bush, he explained, weakened the campaigns of other governors in the race, by sucking up all the donor money in the race.
“He lasted one more race than I did,” said Christie referring to the enormous amount of money wasted on Bush’s campaign.