Governor Branstad Monday praised the timing of a high-profile endorsement for leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but he didn’t say whether or not he agreed with the endorsement itself.
New Jersey Governor and former candidate Chris Christie on Friday threw his support behind Trump.
Governor Branstad says that shifted media attention away from Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
“I think it was a brilliant move and it obviously changed the coverage, so it was strategically a good move,” Branstad says.
Before the endorsement, the focus was on Rubio’s good performance in the Republican debate.
“And then bang the endorsement came out and now all of a sudden the discussion is about the endorsement of Chris Christie,” Branstad said, pounding on the lectern. “So it changed the subject regardless of how you feel about the candidate or the endorsement or whatever.”
But Branstad criticized the tenor of the Rubio/Trump battle which has disintegrated into attacks on each other’s personal appearance.
"I think it's way out of hand," Branstad says. "I really think the focus needs to be on the issues.”
Branstad says he expects the nomination to be decided soon. He adds that Super Tuesday voting may show that Trump’s momentum cannot be stopped.
He says he won’t be endorsing a Republican candidate “anytime soon.”