Christie turns Trump yes-man

Governor Chris Christie appears to be embracing his new sidekick role.
Governor Chris Christie appears to be embracing his new sidekick role.

MIAMI • Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is awkwardly adapting to a new role - as a yes-man.

During Mr Donald Trump's victory speech on Tuesday night in Florida, Mr Christie stood behind him the entire time, offering the constant nods, a gaze of admiration and unrelenting affirmation usually reserved for a political spouse.

Mr Christie smiled. He clapped. He called him, deferentially, Mr Trump. He said the Trump candidacy was "not a campaign. It's a movement". He enthused about the billionaire's "Super Tuesday" victories, calling them "important for our country".

It was an arresting image, far from Mr Christie's original vision of himself at this stage of the Republican presidential contest: as a nominee, not a sidekick. But he is embracing the job with gusto.

When Mr Trump explained the exodus of jobs from states like New Jersey, Mr Christie's face broke into a mischievous and somewhat embarrassed smile. He mouthed the word "no", but quickly returned to smiling.

"Chris," Mr Trump said, "understands the problem." For the next 20 minutes, Mr Christie stood ramrod straight, taking it all in. He did not appear fully comfortable, perhaps unsure if he should remain onstage. But remain he did, effectively taking the place of Mr Trump's family, who did not appear in the TV frame. That privilege was reserved for Mr Trump and his new constant sidekick.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Christie turns Trump yes-man'. Print Edition | Subscribe