New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump for President

Chris Christie Endorses Donald Trump for President
Chris Christie
Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty

02/26/2016 AT 01:40 PM EST

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday that he is endorsing GOP front-runner Donald Trump for president.

"I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States," Christie told reporters at a press conference in Texas, according to CNN.

"The best person to beat Hillary Clinton on that stage last night is undoubtedly Donald Trump," added Christie, who dropped out of the GOP race earlier this month.

Trump and Christie took the stage together on Friday, one day after the billionaire businessman faced off against rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in Thursday night's GOP debate. The news seemed to take Washington and political media by surprise as some cable news networks scrambled to go live to the press conference.

"Generally speaking I'm not big on endorsements. This was an endorsement that really meant a lot," Trump said of Christie.

The governor said he felt Trump was his only choice.

"There was no choice in my mind. This is the only guy on that stage – other than Gov. Kasich – who has made executive decisions, who understands how to put together budgets."

"After the campaign was over, [my wife] Mary Pat and I went home and we took a deep breath ... We sat down as a family – me, Mary Pat and our children – and we talked about, do we want to play any other role in this campaign or do we want to just not? I concluded with Mary Pat – and the children supported – that we wanted to be with the person who we thought could provide the strongest leadership for America and the person who could best make sure that Hillary Clinton never gets within 10 miles of the White House. Once we made that decision, it was clear the only choice was Donald Trump. The best choice was Donald Trump. And the last thing is, our family is one that prides (sic) loyalty. And the fact is that we have been good friends with Donald and his family for many years."

"He is strong enough to take on the D.C. establishment," Christie added. "I have absolute confidence in his ability to get in there and fix the problems."

The New Jersey Republican said he plans to appear at Trump's event in Oklahoma Friday night.
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