(Bloomberg) -- Without ever mentioning Donald Trump by name, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a stinging critique of the Republican Party the former president leads, saying it must focus on the truth and not conspiracy theories and false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“Pretending we won when we lost is a waste of time, and energy and credibility,” Christie said in a speech on Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, part of a speaker series on the future of the GOP.

Trump has refused to accept his loss to Joe Biden in last November’s presidential election, continuing to claim, falsely, that voter fraud set in motion by a Democratic conspiracy denied him a second term. In the wake of Trump’s accusations, Republican governors and legislatures in several states have enacted restrictions on voting.  

Christie, who ran unsuccessfully against Trump in 2016 and has said he wouldn’t rule out running again in 2024 even if the former president enters the race for the White House, as he has teased, said Republicans must “stop wallowing in the past” and “free ourselves from the quicksand of endless grievances.” 

Citing the struggle against the far-right John Birch Society by Reagan and the conservative editor and author William F. Buckley in the 1960s, Christie, a United States attorney before becoming governor, said the GOP must discredit extremists and conspiracy theories to offer credible alternatives to Democrats and win midterm elections in 2022 and the White House in 2024.

“We need to renounce the conspiracy theorists and the truth deniers – the ones who know better, and the ones who are just plain nuts,” Christie said, singling out supporters of QAnon, a collection of groundless allegations that took hold during the Trump years.

The former New Jersey governor also decried what he described as the politics of getting support by saying “a bunch of things that aren’t true” and “bending to the will of any one person rather than advocating ideas for the good of all people” -- a veiled reference to Trump.

“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.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the library in May as part of the speaker series and said the GOP needs to avoid culture wars and move beyond Trump. In his address at the library in June, former Vice President Mike Pence defended his acceptance of Electoral College votes cast for Biden on Jan. 6 against Trump’s wishes, saying he was proud to fulfill his duty.

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