From September's "Ask the Governor"

Chris Christie and Donald Trump share a laugh during a commercial break in the Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College Feb. 6.. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump Friday in a surprise announcement — the first former candidate for the GOP presidential nomination to do so.

Trump “will do exactly what needs to be done to make America a leader around the world again,” Christie said, according to multiple reports of Friday's press conference in Fort Worth, Texas

Trump, standing with Christie, said the New Jersey governor has been my friend for many years, he’s been a spectacular governor.

The endorsement and kind words exchanged by the two mark a sharp contrast to their comments toward the end of Christie's presidential run.

The two have long described each other as friends, and in September Christie said on New Jersey 101.5's "Ask the Governor" the two would be "quite the team" on a joint ticket.

Christie also said at the time he had no idea if the two big personalities could co-exist on the same ticket, and if they could handle governing together: “I don’t know if Donald would love being my vice-president anyways,” Christie joked.

A few months earlier, Christie said during another "Ask the Governor" segment that if Trump "wants to be a serious candidate, he can be."

But in August, Christie told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren: "Donald's a great guy and a good person. But I just don't think that he's suited to be president of the United States. I don't think his temperament is suited for that and I don't think his experience is."


But he also said in December's show that Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States is "the difference between someone who has experience protecting America and someone who doesn’t."

In early December in South Carolina, Trump told a group of supporters that Christie almost surely knew about the lanes closures at the George Washington Bridge while it was happening.

Trump also said in late December Christie couldn't "win because of his past." "It's ridiculous to back Chris," Trump told WMUR at the time. Trump criticized Christie's leadership of New Jersey, saying the state had "had tremendous (credit) downgrades, either 9 or 11" (the number is actually eight).

Also at the time, Trump went after Christie for embracing President Barack Obama during a tour of Sandy-damaged areas in 2012.

"He was so warm, and so happy to have Barack Obama in the state of New Jersey that I personally think it could have cost (Republican Mitt) Romney the election," Trump said. "I actually thought that Christie was going to vote for Obama based on that little episode."

And in January, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, Christie took shots at the GOP front-runner without calling him by name: "Showtime is over. We are not electing an entertainer-in-chief. Showmanship is fun but it is not the kind of leadership that will change America. Bluster is not the leadership we crave. Talking a big game and either not showing up or not knowing how isn’t what we desperately need today."

When Trump bowed out of a Republican debate in late January, Christie told Fox News' Megyn Kelly: "If he doesn't want to be there, that's OK with with me. But I'll tell you this, the American people should wonder, you know, if you're not willing to show up when everything isn't going your way, exactly the way you want to, that's not the job as governor goes, Megyn, things don't go my way often."

In early February, Christie suggested Trump's dominance would fade over time.

“He shouldn’t be talking like that, I’m surprised that he would be talking like that,” Trump said on Good Morning America. “I know him and I guess he used to be a friend until this all happened.”

"Chris took himself down when he did the George Washington Bridge, and he took himself down when he’s rated number 50 out of 50 in New Jersey," Trump said. "I mean, it’s the 50th worst state, meaning it’s last.”