In an address delivered on hallowed ground for the GOP—the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California—former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told the Republican Party it needs to turn away from the direction Donald Trump has taken it and stop "this lying." Republicans should accept the results of last year's presidential election, he said, and "renounce the conspiracy theories," CBS reports. "We need to give our supporters facts that will help them put all those fantasies to rest so everyone can focus with clear minds on the issues that really matter," Christie said Thursday night in Simi Valley. "We need to quit wasting our time, our energy, and our credibility on claims that won't ever convince anyone of anything."
Christie's appearance was part of a speaker series that includes former Vice President Mike Pence and former House speaker Paul Ryan, who also was critical of banking the party's future on the former president. "If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we're not going anywhere," Ryan said. "Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle." Christie, who was once a major supporter of Trump, echoed that by saying no one person is "worthy of blind faith and obedience." He had also criticized the president after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, per Politico, saying Trump had violated his oath of office. "All this lying has done harm to our nation, to our party, and to each other," Christie said.
But Christie is interested in being president, and he's said he wouldn't be opposed to running against Trump. The Republican Party consists of three groups, Chris Cillizza writes in a CNN analysis: backers of Trump, backers of Trump's values who want him to step aside, and others who don't now and never did support him. Christie presented a list of what he called Republican values, but it's clear after the speech that he doesn't have a place in any of those groups. That makes it difficult to see where his Republican support would come from. Christie is "a man without a political country," Cillizza writes. "And those people aren't relevant in our politics." (Read more Chris Christie stories.)