(CNN) – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered a surprise endorsement to Donald Trump, saying there is no one better prepared to lead the country in the Republican 2016 race.
“I am proud to be here to endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States,” the New Jersey Republican told reporters at a press conference in Texas.
“The best person to beat Hillary Clinton on that stage last night is undoubtedly Donald Trump,” Christie, who plans to appear at Trump’s Oklahoma event Friday night, added.
Trump and Christie appeared on stage together the day after a rough debate performance where the real estate mogul faced off against Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Christie and Trump took turns unloading on the freshman Florida senator, who spent the morning insulting the billionaire businessman.
“Desperate people do desperate things,” Christie said, when asked about Rubio’s comments, adding that his remarks were the “flailing punches in the final days of the campaign.”
Trump chose to go after Rubio for wearing too much makeup during Thursday’s debate.
“I saw him backstage and he was putting it on with a trowel,” Trump said.
Christie, in the waning days of his own presidential campaign, had specifically targeted Rubio as not qualified for the office.
“Generally speaking I’m not big on endorsements,” Trump said, adding, “This was an endorsement that really meant a lot.”
When asked about the endorsement, Cruz dodged on weighing in.
“This decision is going to be made by the voters on Super Tuesday,” Cruz told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in Nashville.