Just when it looked like it was Donald Trump against the Republican world — a world for which Marco Rubio was to be the savior — along comes an endorsement that cannot be ignored: Chris Christie, an Establishment candidate before he became the odd man out in New Hampshire, has embraced the Donald. If, like me, you didn’t see that coming, you have to admit it makes sense from a stylistic and geographic perspective. Boisterous is probably the euphemism for the rhetorical qualities the two share, along with a Greater New York orientation. And it is probably a relief for Christie, after he’s spent years sucking up to conservative activists, to join a campaign where it’s okay to admit the public sector has duties other than fighting wars and enforcing contracts. Christie will have to deal with hearing his own words mocking Trump’s Muslim-immigration-ban idea quoted back to him; he will need, and is no doubt formulating, a quick response or just a brush-away reference to coalition politics.
But it’s clear Christie and his new candidate of choice won’t have any trouble staying in harmony on the subject of the day: Marco Rubio as a stone loser, per the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman:
At Friday’s news conference announcing the endorsement, which was peppered with demeaning insults of Mr. Rubio by the two men, Mr. Christie repeatedly attacked Mr. Rubio, calling his behavior at the debate “desperate” and reflective of a “losing campaign … ”
Mr. Trump heaped praise on Mr. Christie for tenderizing Mr. Rubio during the final debate in New Hampshire, where the Florida senator wilted under blistering criticism from the governor.
“I thought he was gonna die — good going, Chris,” Mr. Trump said.
Nothing like some Marco-bashing to bond two guys together, eh? But Haberman thinks Christie’s move will have more practical benefits than just messing with Rubio’s head:
Mr. Christie’s endorsement augments Mr. Trump’s appeal for working-class voters. But more significantly, Mr. Christie could become a catalyst for other leading Republicans to back him after they have held back from supporting the developer despite his recent string of victories.
We’ll see. I’d say Chris Christie’s endorsement plus 11 or 12 wins on March 1 would be a good one-two combo for Trump. And then, yes, Christie’s example could make it easier for other moderate or “somewhat conservative” pols to gamble their respectability on a front-row seat at that most improbable of events: the nomination of Donald J. Trump.