Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Christie shared an awkward moment on the campaign trail Saturday, when the Republican front-runner was overheard telling his highest-profile endorser to “get on the plane and go home.”
At a rally on an airport tarmac in Tennessee Saturday, Mr. Trump’s newest surrogate made a several-minute introduction of Mr. Trump. As it concluded, Mr. Trump shook Mr. Christie’s hand as he stepped toward the podium and leaned in to give him instructions that were captured on the stage’s microphone.
“Get on the plane and go home. It’s over there,” Mr. Trump said as he pointed off the stage.
The words could be taken as purely logistical, but they were framed by critics on social media as showing Mr. Trump being dismissive of his highest-profile backer, who at one point was a rival for the Republican nomination.
As Mr. Trump stepped up to the podium, he said: “Thank you Chris, wow. … This is one endorsement really that I wanted. He’s the right guy. Thank you very much Chris, Appreciate it.”
The Trump campaign and a spokesman for Mr. Christie didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Trump had smiled through much of Mr. Christie’s five minute introduction of him on an airplane strip in Millington, Tenn., during which the New Jersey Republican used some of the time to criticize Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s record in the Senate.
“When you get a job you are actually supposed to do a job,” Mr. Christie said before the crowd. “Sen. Rubio says he knows how to create jobs even though he’s never created one in his life and he’s on the small business committee. He missed 80% of all those meetings.”
The governor endorsed Mr. Trump Friday after dropping out of the race earlier this month. He has continued to harbor bitterness against his former rivals, particularly Mr. Rubio, his supporters said.