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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Sunday defended President Trump, saying he has “no hate in his heart for Muslim Americans” despite his controversial immigration executive order.

The Trump surrogate — who was once considered primed for a role in the White House — used his longstanding personal relationship with Trump to defend his executive order that limits travel into the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries where terrorist organizations are present.

“I know the president’s heart on this,” Christie said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The president has absolutely no, no hate in his heart for Muslim Americans. In fact, the exact opposite. This is a president who has great affection for all Americans who are here working hard, raising their families and contributing to the fabric of our society, including Muslim Americans.”

Christie also said that Trump deserves credit for moving away from the original position he took during the campaign season in which he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

“The president moved an incredible distance from a Muslim ban to where he is now,” Christie said. “I think that shows he’s a president who’s willing to listen to advisers.”

Christie did offer criticism about how the executive order was rolled out. The order has sparked protests nationwide, including at numerous international airports.

“This isn’t about assigning blame, this is about making sure it’s done the right way,” Christie explained. “And so in the end, I believe the president deserves better.”

The order bans nationals from the seven countries entering the United States for 90 days. Trump’s order also included a 120-day ban on admitting refugees from those seven countries, as well as an indefinite halt on admitting refugees from Syria.

A federal judge on Friday issued a restraining order that blocks the executive order nationwide. The Trump administration unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a stay.

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