Donald Trump’s Super Tuesday speech had all the optics of a picture-perfect election event: a gilded room, a podium with his name in front a row of American flags. Then former presidential candidate and now-Trump supporter Chris Christie took the stage.
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“He's shown himself to be a fighter,” Christie said of the GOP frontrunner. “A leader who speaks plainly to the American people.”
But when Trump took to the podium and Christie took a prominent position just behind the GOP frontrunner, the chatter on social media quickly turned.
Twitter users were quick to seize upon Christie’s facial expression during parts of Trump’s speech, which many described as sad, scared, or miserable. The hashtag #FreeChristie took off.
The New Jersey governor’s name was the number one trend in the U.S. on Twitter, overtaking search interest in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Many took to Twitter to mock the apparent awkwardness of the situation, with some joking that Christie was being held against his will:
Chris Christie is blinking "PLEASE KILL ME" in Morse code. pic.twitter.com/7PnUV5jCtQ— Adam Pasick (@Adampasick) March 2, 2016
"Last thing I remember is being thrown into a car with a 'Make America Great Again' sticker...how did I get here?" https://t.co/DoY2z4aY3i— Emma Hankins (@emma_hankins) March 2, 2016
Chris Christie is filming the most awkward proof of life video I've ever seen.— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) March 2, 2016
There were also a spike in searches for “Chris, Christie, Vice President” during Trump’s speech. Trump introduced the New Jersey governor as a “friend for many years,” and did not dismiss the idea of having Christie as a potential running mate saying, “he’s got the talent.”
ABC’s Evan McMurry and Dennis Powell contributed to this report.