Chris Christie addressed on Thursday his famous social-media moment at a Donald Trump press conference earlier in the week.
As Trump celebrated his “Super Tuesday” wins across a swath of presidential-primary states, Christie stood silently behind Trump.
Christie’s facial expressions throughout the event quickly went viral with countless observers speculating about how uncomfortable he looked.
At his own press conference in New Jersey on Thursday, Christie issued a lengthy rebuttal to his critics.
“Listen, I don’t know what I was supposed to be doing. I was standing there listening to him. And you know, all these armchair psychiatrists should give it a break,” he said.
Christie also stressed that he was at Trump’s press conference and “not a normal election-night rally.”
“Usually you have hundreds of people in a ballroom, they’re all screaming and cheering, and you’re giving a political speech. Well, that would have led to a lot of applause, a lot of smiles, and all of the rest of it,” Christie explained after a reporter asked him about being lampooned on social media.
“He gave a press conference! That’s what he decided to do that night. That’s what he wanted to do. There were literally 25 people that were not press in that room that night,” Christie said.
“So it wasn’t the kind of circumstance where I’d be jumping up and down, cheering, and smiling. He was answering questions from the national press corps and I was listening,” he added.
Christie, the former head of the Republican Governors Association, was widely viewed as a political figure aligned with the GOP establishment. So his endorsement of Donald Trump, whose insurgent campaign has rocked that same establishment, came as a surprise.
The governor and former 2016 candidate said he understood “that everybody had a lot of fun” at his expense during Trump’s press conference, but said it was coming from critics who opposed his Trump endorsement.
So this is part of the hysteria of the people who oppose my Trump endorsement. They want to read anything into it that can be negative. That’s fine. I understand that. I could care less. So, no, I wasn’t being “held hostage.” No, I wasn’t sitting up there thinking, “Oh my God, what have I done?” …
For those who were concerned, I wasn’t being held hostage. I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t despondent. I wasn’t anything other than happy that we had done as well as we had done that night — and listening to someone give a press conference.
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