Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, an erstwhile ally of former President Donald Trump, on Thursday tore into the ex-president’s political movement and baseless claims of election fraud, urging the Republicans to break with “the conspiracy theorists and the truth deniers” in their ranks.
Christie said during an appearance at the Ronald Reagan Library that the GOP needs to “face the realities of the 2020 election and learn, not hide, from them,” urging fellow Republicans to “discredit the extremists in our midst.”
Christie framed distancing from election conspiracy theorists as the politically favorable move for Republicans, arguing voters want to hear policy ideas and not “endless grievances.”
The comments came as a clear rebuke of Trump, who has continued to baselessly suggest the election was stolen, leading many Republican lawmakers to follow suit and even launch audits to continue adjudicating the election nearly a year later.
Christie compared Trump’s embrace of the GOP’s radical elements to 1964 GOP candidate Barry Goldwater’s hesitance to call out the conspiratorial John Birch Society because he “didn’t want to offend the base,” quipping, “When have we heard that before?”
Christie also took aim at what is perceived as a cult of personality around Trump, arguing nobody is “worthy of blind faith or obedience” regardless of “what office they’ve held or wealth they’ve acquired,” urging the GOP not to “tie our future to a pile of lies.”