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NPR: Christie’s secretly conceived decision last week to endorse Trump has provoked shock, anger and disappointment from all corners. After Christie refused to take questions about Trump at a news conference at the statehouse in Trenton on Monday, six New Jersey newspapers from the Gannett company penned a joint editorial saying Christie should be recalled for ignoring the people of the state. And a poll released Wednesday showed that his job approval in the state stood at 27 percent, an all-time low, following the endorsement.
One of his critics’ chief complaints is that Christie developed his political brand around extending the Republican Party’s tent to the marginalized in New Jersey — particularly Hispanics and Muslims — and that those gains may be lost now that Christie has endorsed a candidate whose remarks are viewed by many as offensive. Meg Whitman, a former California gubernatorial candidate and the national finance co-chair for his failed presidential campaign, called Christie’s endorsement “an astonishing display of political opportunism.” Joining the chorus were former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman (“I am ashamed that Christie would endorse anyone who has employed the kind of hate mongering and racism that Trump has“), Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger who has been a stalwart Christie booster (“Chris Christie, you’re nothing to me now“) and one of his top fundraisers, Bobbie Kilberg (“I don’t get it“).
The endorsement has put Christie on the defensive. In a Sunday interview on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Christie ended up getting blindsided by Stephanopoulos, who forced the governor to account for how he had previously criticized Trump on all of his most significant policy positions. In one particularly difficult exchange, Christie refused to say he disagreed with Trump’s ban on Muslims — even though as a candidate, he had brought this up as an indication that Trump wasn’t fit to serve as president. MORE