The Vine above from user “nick pants” has been looped more than 11 million times and is one of several images and videos associated with the hashtag #FreeChrisChristie
By Gregory Krieg
(CNN) — Chris Christie on Thursday insisted the lengthy blank stare he wore throughout Donald Trump’s Super Tuesday press conference was symbolic only of the fact he was listening intently to the billionaire’s speech.
“No, I wasn’t being held hostage. No, I wasn’t sitting up there thinking, ‘Oh, my God, what have I done?'” the New Jersey governor told reporters in Trenton.
“It wasn’t the kind of circumstance where I’d be jumping up and down, cheering and smiling,” Christie added. “(Trump) was answering questions from the national press corps and I was listening.”
The video of Christie taking in Trump’s remarks drew laughter and some derision across social media, where the hashtag #FreeChrisChristie took flight, along with suggestions that the governor had come to regret his decision to back the GOP front-runner.
Christie has been the subject of severe criticism, from political allies and his home state press, since announcing last week he would support and occasionally stump with Trump.
On Tuesday, six Gannett-owned newspapers, including the Asbury Park Press and Cherry Hill Courier-Post, wrote in a joint editorial that Christie should step down or be recalled from office.
“We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance,” they wrote. “We’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy.”
On Thursday, Christie lumped the response to his facial expressions in with the broader backlash, calling it “part of the hysteria of people who oppose my Trump endorsement.”
“They want to read anything into it that can be negative. That’s fine, I understand that, I could care less.”