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Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered a sweeping critique of the GOP on Thursday, urging it to become "the party that's perceived to be telling the American people the truth" after months of "pretending we won" the 2020 election.
Christie, a frequent critic of his own party, told Politico ahead of a Thursday evening speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California he intended to stress "first and foremost" in his remarks that the Republican Party needed to be "the party that's perceived to be telling the American people the truth."
"Pretending we won when we lost is a waste of time and energy and credibility," Christie said during his speech Thursday evening, without mentioning the former president's name.
Christie argued the party must aim to dismiss extremists and conspiracy theories to offer a viable alternative to Democrats, citing the struggle against the far-right John Birch Society by Reagan and the conservative author William F. Buckley in the 1960s.
"No man, no woman, no matter what office they've held or wealth they've acquired, are worthy of blind faith or obedience," Christie said Thursday evening.
The former governor rebutted some of Trump's post-2020 election claims, hitting him over his allegations that widespread fraud led to his loss against President Joe Biden.
"We need to free ourselves from the quicksand of endless grievances. We need to turn our attention to the future and stop wallowing in the past," he said. "We need to face the realities of the 2020 election and learn, not hide from them. We need to discredit the extremists in our midst the way we've done it before."
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan also spoke at the library in May as part of a speaker series on the future of the GOP, cautioning the party to avoid culture wars and move beyond the Trump-era presidency. Ryan recently admitted that "it's really clear" Trump lost the 2020 election.
Despite Christie's reluctance to entertain Trump's fraud allegations, which the former president's Justice Department denied had any effect on the election outcome, the aftershock of the claims has resulted in several right-leaning states such as Georgia and Texas strengthening voting security measures through new legislation.
Christie ran unsuccessfully against Donald Trump in 2016 and has said he would not rule out running again in 2024, even if the former president, who enjoys enduring popularity within the GOP, decides to enter the race again.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese
Original Location: Chris Christie calls on GOP to stop 'pretending we won' in 2020