- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 28, 2016

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended Sunday his endorsement of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, as a former Christie campaign official condemned the move as “an astonishing display of political opportunism.”

Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, one of the now-defunct Christie campaign’s national finance co-chairs, released a statement Sunday saying that Mr. Christie knows better than to back the billionaire businessman.

Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump is an astonishing display of political opportunism. Donald Trump is unfit to be president,” said Ms. Whitman in a statement to NBC News. “He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey. Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly.”

Mr. Christie agreed Sunday that he and Mr. Trump have had “some major disagreements with each other, because we ran against each other.”

“But let me tell you, they’re minor disagreements compared to what is going to happen if we have Hillary Clinton as president of the United States, who is moving so far to the left to beat Bernie Sanders that I don’t know which one is the socialist, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Christie said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The New Jersey governor’s endorsement Friday has come under fire from some Republicans and conservative commentators, given that Mr. Christie had been one of the billionaire businessman’s harshest critics on the campaign trail.

“The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the Governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter,” said Ms. Whitman.

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to President Bill Clinton who has given $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, hammered Mr. Christie for his endorsement, bringing up issue after issue over which the two Republicans sparred on the campaign trail.

“I’ve just pointed out three of the biggest issues in this campaign, the ones he talks about all the time. You disagree with him on all those issues,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said, referring to building a wall on the U.S. southern border that would be paid for by Mexico, a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, and entitlement reform.

“So when you say he’s going to do what needs to be done, what exactly are you talking about?” Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

Mr. Christie swung back by pointing out that he and Mr. Trump agree on a tougher national security policy and stronger military, adding: “If you want to vote for the candidate who you agree with 100 percent of the time, go home and look in the mirror.”

“[W]e can sit here this morning and play the game of everything that — I ran against the guy, so of course there’s things that I disagree with him on,” Mr. Christie said. “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 1 for Republicans.”

Mr. Trump leads GOP rivals Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in delegates going into the Super Tuesday primaries.

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