New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stood by his endorsement of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and blamed opponents of the billionaire businessman for the "hysteria" that spurred #FreeChrisChristie posts on Super Tuesday.
Christie, who threw his support to Trump after ending his own presidential campaign, answered questions about the 2016 presidential race Thursday in a press conference where he spoke about jobs and the economy in the Garden State.
"No, I wasn't being held hostage; no, I wasn't sitting up there thinking, 'Oh my God, what have I done?'" he said of his appearance with Trump on Super Tuesday.
Christie's stoicism spurred memes tagged #FreeChrisChristie, with social media users suggesting he was regretting his decision to back Trump, whom he described as his friend of 14 years.
"I wasn’t anything other than happy we had done as well as we had done that night and listening to someone give a press conference in front of the national press corps," Christie asserted.
The New Jersey governor said several times Thursday he has more confidence in Trump than in any of the other three remaining GOP candidates: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
"I believe he is the best choice to be president and to beat Hillary Clinton," he said of Trump.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
Christie's remarks came just after 2012 Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney slammed Trump in a press conference of his own. The governor said he and Romney, also a friend, could agree to disagree.
"We have a political disagreement. He has every right to express his opinion and his view," Christie said, adding that their conflicting views would not compromise their friendship or mutual respect.
He also made it clear he plans to finish his term as governor amid a chorus of criticism from many of New Jersey's news outlets.
The Star-Ledger said in an editorial that Christie, who has been viewed by some as an absentee governor, made it clear governing the state is a "distant second priority." Christie, for his part, said the Star-Ledger has opposed him since 2009.
He challenged a widely reported perception that New Jersey's newspapers have called on him to resign: "I don’t want to agree to the premise of a question that is dramatic but factually incorrect."
Christie also addressed a recent editorial in the New Hamshire Union Leader, which earlier this week called its endorsement of the New Jersey governor a "bad choice."
"I have to make a choice. They don't have to make a choice," he said of the media. "They can pontificate about the choices we make."
Christie told the media he has spent more time in New Jersey than he has been given credit for and plans to campaign with Trump only "on occasion."
"I am not a full-time surrogate for Donald Trump. I don’t have a title or position in the Trump campaign. I’m an endorser of Donald Trump," he said.
When asked what he has contributed so far to Trump's campaign, Christie said wryly, "My charm."