WASHINGTON — The latest on the 2016 presidential race, which includes a Republican debate on Thursday night in Detroit:

Christie says he won’t resign, will keep supporting Trump

Republican Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that he won’t heed calls for his resignation and will continue helping Donald Trump’s GOP presidential campaign.

He defended his endorsement of the billionaire developer as two former Republican presidential nominees and 70 national security experts warned that Trump was unfit to be commander in chief.

Christie, who ended his own Republican presidential campaign last month, tried to steer the conversation at the news conference back to his priorities in New Jersey but agreed to answer questions from reporters. He laughed off questions about his seemingly shell-shocked gaze as he stood beside Trump on Super Tuesday and said he was merely listening as the candidate spoke.

“I don’t know what I was supposed to be doing. All these armchair psychiatrists should give it a break,” Christie said.

Christie said he will continue helping Trump’s Republican presidential campaign but doesn’t have any appearances scheduled. Christie added that his 30th wedding anniversary is next week, but he is otherwise focused on state priorities, including a budget due in June.

Seven New Jersey newspapers have called on Christie to resign. The Star-Ledger, which endorsed Christie in his 2013 re-election campaign, said he has since made it clear that governing the state is a “distant second priority” that comes behind his personal ambition. Six newspapers published by Gannett also called for his resignation.

Fox’s Megyn Kelly getting back onstage with Trump

Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly says she’s not anticipating any more fights with Donald Trump in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate, and that she’s preparing the same “tough but fair” questions for him as she does for other candidates.

The stage in Detroit will be a little emptier with Ben Carson suspending his campaign on Wednesday. All eyes will be on Kelly and Trump, who clashed during the first GOP debate last summer. Trump then boycotted an Iowa debate that Fox telecast in January after the network refused to remove Kelly as one of the moderators.

Thursday’s two-hour debate starts at 9 p.m. EST; Kelly will moderate along with Bret Baier and Chris Wallace.

“It was never personal from my point of view,” Kelly said. “I understand he was upset. I didn’t take it personally and I certainly don’t have anything against him. I find him a very fascinating person to cover.”

Kelly’s questioning angered Trump during the first GOP debate last August, most prominently when he was confronted with some of his past comments about women. He then unleashed attacks on her on social media and in interviews, renewing them just before the Iowa debate. After Trump skipped that debate, he lost the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said he looks forward to Thursday’s debate.

Security experts: Trump unfit for presidency

Dozens of conservative national security experts are warning that Donald Trump is unfit to be commander-in-chief.

In a letter released Wednesday evening, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and more than 70 other experts say they have disagreed with one another on a variety of issues but are united in their opposition to a Trump presidency.

They say Trump’s “embrace of the expansive use of torture” is inexcusable. They also object to Trump’s “hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric” and his advocacy for waging trade wars, which they say would lead to economic disaster in a globally connected world.

“His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle,” they say. “He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.”

Other experts who signed the letter are Frances Townsend, former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush; Eliot Cohen, former counselor to the State Department; and Dov Zakheim, former Pentagon comptroller.

Cohen and Bryan McGrath, a retired Navy officer and managing director of The FerryBridge Group defense consulting firm, organized the letter. McGrath says he’s gratified by the large number of signatures. The letter, he says, is a “vehicle for people to say they’ve had enough.”

New Mexico Gov. Martinez endorses Marco Rubio

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is endorsing Marco Rubio’s presidential bid – support from a rising Republican star that will undoubtedly boost the Florida senator’s sway among Latino voters.

Rubio mentioned Martinez’s name back in November when discussing potential running mates, but Martinez has largely shrugged off questions about higher political aspirations.

The backing from the nation’s only Latina governor comes days after Martinez refused to say whether she would support Donald Trump if he became the Republican nominee.

Martinez plans to campaign with Rubio in Kansas on Friday.

In Michigan, Sanders calls Clinton’s record on trade a ‘disaster’

Bernie Sanders is making trade policy a centerpiece of his efforts to win next week’s Democratic presidential primary in Michigan.

He’s trying to make the case that Hillary Clinton’s approach to trade has been wrong and that families have suffered as a result of policies she supports.

Sanders says at a news conference in Lansing, Michigan, that he and Clinton have been on opposing sides on a number of trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement and normalizing trade relations with China.

Sanders is aiming for victory this coming Tuesday in Michigan and hoping to cut into Clinton’s lead among delegates.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: