Although New Jersey Gov Chris Christie has taken an important role leading Donald Trump’s transition team in recent weeks, he still is not safe from schoolyard jabs made by the presumptive GOP nominee.
“I’m not eating Oreos anymore, you know that. Neither is Chris,” Mr Trump said, talking about US cookie manufacturer Nabisco outsourcing of 600 Chicago jobs to Mexico. The New York tycoon turned and pointed to his former opponent: “You’re not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos - for either of us. Don’t feel bad - for either of us.”
Mr Trump’s comments drew guffaws from the audience at the National Guard armory in Lawrenceville Township, New Jersey, who paid $200 (£137) a ticket to see the former Atlantic City casino mogul speak at a fundraiser to pay off Mr Christie’s $250,000 (£171,291) campaign debt.
"Chris paid off his entire campaign debt tonight. His entire debt," Mr Trump on Thursday evening, gesturing toward Mr Christie, who stood with his family offstage. "You can’t even give him a table and a seat. That’s terrible."
While Mr Christie could not quite escape the butt of Mr Trump’s jokes, he still saw the candidate as the man for the job of keeping the US safe.
"You see events going on around the world that scare us. We know that there are people out there that want to hurt America and Americans," Mr Christie said in his introduction of the candidate. "We need a strong president who will fight back and defend America first, and I’m confident that person is Donald Trump."
Mr Trump used the speech as an opportunity to go on the offensive against the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, whom he criticised for her refusal to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” when discussing the Thursday disappearance of EgyptAir Flight 804. The aircraft reportedly spun off course and plunged into the Mediterranean Sea while en route from Paris to Cairo. Officials have yet to find wreckage or determine the cause of the flight's disappearance.
“What just happened about 12 hours ago? A plane got blown out of the sky. And if anybody thinks it wasn’t blown out of the sky, you’re 100 per cent wrong, folks, OK?” he said.
Ms Clinton earlier told CNN the disappearance of the flight “shines a very bright light on the threat that we face from organised terror groups”.
Many Trump supporters in attendance expressed concern for the safety of the country, especially as it related to terrorist organisations, and cited that reason as to why the billionaire businessman would have their vote in the general election.
“I want him to kick ISIS’ a**,” Cindy Kyreakakis, a 48-year-old Marlboro resident, told The Independent. “I think he’s going to rebuild our military. He’s really going to let people know we’re not playing around anymore. The Democrats can’t even say ‘radical Islam’. Give me a break.
“I’m not politically correct, either. I mean my dog loves watermelons - he thinks he’s black,” she joked in reference to a negative stereotype of African Americans.
Christine and Samantha Stetson showed their spirit at the rally with a sign that read “Moms & Daughters for Trump”. They, too, were concerned about national security threats from abroad, and felt Mr Trump was the only candidate who could stop them.
“I think the main thing about Donald Trump is that he stands for, number one, the safety of America,” Samantha, a 27-year-old registered nurse, said. “Safety is number one and making sure that, as Americans, that we keep the rights that we have.”
Christine, 55, elaborated for her daughter: “She’s always saying to me that, ‘Mom, everybody’s so worried about women’s rights’ - not that we aren’t, because we’re women - ‘but we won’t have any rights if there’s no country’, because we’re worried for our safety.”
Human resources professionals Anne Marie Corriere, 53, and Tara DeLeon, 56, drove from Easton, Pennsylvania, a town about 50 miles (80.5 km) north of Lawrenceville, to see Mr Trump speak. Similarly, they viewed national security as the top issue of the 2016 election.
“Don’t bring refugees from Syria,” Ms Corriere said, suggesting how Mr Trump would keep the coutry safe.
“I just helped Syrian refugees yesterday,” added Ms DeLeon. “Because I was afraid and I wanted to get to know them.”
Protesters gathered outside of the National Guard Armory before the event expressing their concerns for the safety of Americans - not from terrorist extremists, but from Mr Trump himself.
Chris Reith, 31, and Dalicia Luna, 29, carried posters depicting Mr Trump as a Nazi, and they feared that many of his positions are too similar to those of Adolf Hitler’s during his rise to power in the 1930s.
“He’s exploiting the fact that people are desperate and frustrated, which is the same thing that Hitler did: He came in a bad economy and he had a simple answer to very complicated questions,” Ms Luna, a personal banker, said. “Essentially Trump is doing the same thing. ‘It’s the Muslims! It’s the Mexicans’.”
Mr Reith added that in order for Mr Trump to enact his controversial immigration laws, such as mass deportations, he would basically institute martial law.
“To actually [deport 11 million undocumented immigrants] in the time period he’s talking about would take a police state,” he said. “He’d have to put people in cattle cars, basically, to ship them out of the country.”
However, to one protester, a hypothetical Trump presidency would prove so catastrophic that it could function as a reset button for the entire US government.
“There is a part of me that would rather Trump over Hillary,” artist and musician Val Dagrain, 26, said. “I feel like he would blow it up - just like he’s doing to the Republican party right now. He’s destroying the party.
“Silver lining - even though it will be like a nuclear holocaust - at least we will have blown it up where we can start from the bottom and start building all over again.”
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