New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a drubbing on social media for his demeanor in an appearance with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump at a televised victory speech and news conference on Super Tuesday.
Adding to his woes, six New Jersey newspapers called on Christie to resign, partly for endorsing Trump after dropping out of the race to become the Republican Party's candidate in November's election.
A Christie spokesman, Brian Murray, declined to comment immediately on the editorial, which appeared in newspapers owned by Gannett Co Inc .
Christie surprisingly endorsed Trump on Friday, calling the billionaire New York businessman "the best person to beat Hillary Clinton in November."
Some questioned whether Christie's enthusiasm was genuine following his appearance at Trump's event in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday night. Trump appeared before TV cameras after news media organizations declared him the winner of some of the state-by-state primaries and caucuses and as Super Tuesday results continued rolling in.
Christie introduced Trump, then stood behind and just to the right of the brash billionaire. The governor stared blankly ahead, at times looking troubled, as Trump took reporters' questions.
The reaction to Christie's demeanor was swift and unforgiving on social media.
"This is what a man collapsing under the weight of his own shame looks like," Sean D. Illing (@sean_illing) tweeted on Tuesday.
"Did #ChrisChristie look pathetic standing behind #Trump, or what?!?" Karen Walz (@khwalz) tweeted on Wednesday.
News website BuzzFeed on Tuesday evening tweeted a clip of the video footage set to the classic Simon and Garfunkel song "Sounds of Silence," with the caption "Hello darkness, my old friend," a lyric from the song.
Christie spokesman Murray would not comment on the social media reaction, saying in an email, "I'll let you know when we opt to slide down into that muck."
In the editorial calling on Christie to resign, the six newspapers, including the Asbury Park Press, called his endorsement hypocritical.
"We’re disgusted with (Christie's) endorsement of Donald Trump after he spent months on the campaign trail trashing him, calling him unqualified by temperament and experience to be president," the editorial read.
Christie, serving the second of two four-year terms, is not slated to leave office until December 2017.
(Reporting By Amy Tennery in New York; Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York)