— -- It may be Chris Christie’s biggest flip-flop yet.
After suspending his presidential campaign two weeks ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered his endorsement to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump Friday, calling him the “clear standout” among the candidates still in the race who will offer “strong, unequivocal leadership” for the country.
“I absolutely believe that Donald Trump is the best person on that stage to be president of the United States,” Christie declared on Friday.
But that sure isn’t what Christie was saying just a few weeks ago, when he regularly mocked, imitated, and rebuked the Republican frontrunner.
“He has not the first idea of how to run a government, not the first idea,” Christie said of Trump on Feb. 7 in Hampton, New Hampshire, when he urged voters to “get off the Trump train before it’s too late.”
As a candidate, Christie ridiculed the Republican frontrunner for having a “make-believe” campaign that amounted to little more than reality TV and sought to remind voters that they aren’t electing an “entertainer-in-chief.”
“The guy who’s running first in the polls. You know it’s all make believe, right?” Christie said days ahead of the New Hampshire primary. “It’s just not real. It’s all for TV.”
“Being president is also nothing like being in a fake boardroom in Manhattan and looking across the room and saying, ‘You’re fired,’” Christie told a town hall in the days before the Iowa Caucuses.
In what became a tried-and-true crowd pleaser, Christie would regularly imitate Trump on the campaign trail, specifically picking apart his proposal to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
“It’s gonna be a incredible, beautiful, marvelous wall, An incredible wall,” Christie would say, dropping his voice his a couple of octaves to more closely match Trump’s tone. “The wall is gonna be unbelievable. The wall is gonna have a door, the door is gonna open and close the good people come in, the bad people go out.”
Christie would then return to his voice, getting serious again.
“How is he gonna make the Mexicans pay for the wall? How?” Christie would ask rhetorically and said he urged anyone who went to a Trump event to ask him how he planned to accomplish the things he promised.
“I’ve met President Pena Nieto twice,” he continued. “He ain’t paying for Donald’s wall.”
But days after endorsing Trump, Christie told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning that Trump “will do it” though he doesn’t have the answer to his own question of “how.”
“He will answer the question, I’m not answering the question for him this morning,” Christie told Stephanopoulos.
Christie went on to say that Trump will offer “more complete answers” on issues as time goes on and argued that “some members of the media and others want to hold Mr. Trump to a different standard than they want to hold the other candidates to.”
While Christie would frequently empathize with voters who were channeling their frustration into Trump’s candidacy during his campaign, he would close by making the case that it’s not enough “to just burn Washington down” but that you must have a leader who also knows how to rebuild it as well.
Sometime between suspending his campaign two weeks ago and backing Trump on Friday, Christie changed his mind.
In a decision Christie said he made with his wife Mary Pat, and the support of their children, Christie now says that Trump is “the most qualified candidate” still standing in the Republican field to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
“Once we made that decision, there was clear only choice was Donald Trump,” Christie said on Friday. “The best choice was Donald Trump.”
Still, Christie conceded on Sunday, “Donald Trump and I are not going to agree on every issue.”
“I ran against the guy, so of course there are things I disagree with him on, but this is now a choice, and of the candidates remaining on that stage, he is the best person to beat Hillary Clinton which is job number one for Republicans,” Christie said. "He is the best person to beat her and he is the best person to keep America safe."