Chris Christie adapts to new role as Donald Trump’s sidekick

Gov. of New Jersey is awkwardly adapting to a new role: Donald J. Trump’s yes man.

During Trump’s victory news conference on Tuesday night in Florida, Christie stood behind him during the business mogul’s entire speech, offering the constant nods, a gaze of admiration and unrelenting affirmation usually reserved for a political spouse.

Luke Sharrett/BloombergLuke Sharrett/BloombergDonald Trump and Chris Christie in Palm Beach Tuesday night.

Christie smiled. He clapped. He called him, deferentially, Mr. Trump. He fawningly declared that Trump’s candidacy was “not a campaign. It’s a movement.” He enthused about the billionaire’s victories, calling them “important for our country.”

It was an arresting image, far from 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.

John Moore/Getty ImagesJohn Moore/Getty ImagesTrump and Christie after the Super Tuesday speech.

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

“Chris,” Trump said, “understands the problem.”

For the next 20 minutes, Christie stood ramrod straight, tie askew, just off to the side, taking it all in.

Christie did not appear fully comfortable, perhaps unsure of whether he should remain onstage. But remain he did, effectively taking the place of Trump’s entire family, who did not appear in the television frame.

That privilege was reserved for Trump and his new constant sidekick.

About Michael Barbaro, The New York Times