New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he was endorsing Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on Friday.
"I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for President of the United States," Christie said. "I'm doing this for a number of reasons. First is that Donald and I, along with Melania and Mary Pat, have been friends for over a decade. He has been a good and loyal friend to our family, as we have been to he and his family … I absolutely appreciate him as a person and as a friend.
"Secondly, I've been on that stage. I've gotten to know all the people on that stage, and there is no one who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership that it needs both at home and around the world than Donald Trump. He is, looking at the five people on that stage last night, the clear standout and the person who will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again."
Christie added that Trump was the best candidate to defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election, which he called the most important quality for the Republican nominee.
"They know how to run the standard political playbook against junior senators and run them around the block," Christie said, in clear reference to Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. "They do not know the playbook with Donald Trump because he is re-writing the playbook."
Christie bested Rubio in a debate exchange earlier this month that was widely seen as detrimental to Rubio's chances in New Hampshire, and Christie continued his sharp criticism of the Florida senator during the press conference.
Rubio repeatedly attacked Trump at Thursday night's debate and mirrored Christie's attack on him at one point by mocking Trump for repeating himself. On Friday, Rubio gleefully continued his assault on Trump at a rally in Texas, at one point reading out Trump's tweets and pointing out misspellings.