How and Why Chris Christie Endorsed Donald Trump

The timing could not have been better.

Christie had a secret meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan that morning, and told aides of his decision around 5 p.m. Thursday. He told them he was headed to Texas to make his endorsement, setting off a wild 24 hours capped by a joint Christie-Trump appearance in Fort Worth.

Trump introduced the New Jersey governor as a "real standout."

“He has been a spectacular governor. He has been just a wonderful person and a wonderful loyal person,” Trump said ahead of his rally.

“Why would I be any better if I was on the sidelines,” was his thinking, the adviser said.

“They [Democrats] do not know the playbook with Donald Trump because he is rewriting the playbook. He is rewriting playbook of American politics because he is providing strong leadership that is not dependent upon the status quo," Christie said.

This adviser stressed a 14-year relationship between Christie and Trump, although it’s mostly a social one. Also, there are obvious stylistic similarities, and Christie respects Trump -- notwithstanding the nasty things he said about him -- as a leader and as an executive.

He also has seen, over time, a kind of quiet establishment comfort with Trump -– in New Jersey and among other friends, including big-money people in the party and also regular people he interacts with. Christie respects the way the party has begun to coalesce around Trump despite not having elected officials or a traditional advertising strategy.