Speaking in New Hampshire Monday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke out against former President Donald Trump.
Christie, who ran against Trump in the Republican primary in 2016, endorsed Trump after dropping out and briefly led his transition team before being fired — an act he blames on Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor.
Still, Christie remained an ally of Trump through his presidency. After Joe Biden won the race in 2020, he criticized Trump's false claims of a stolen election and the insurrectionist effort on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
When he spoke Monday at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute of Politics, a frequent stop for presidential candidates, Christie condemned the former president's open praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and said Trump was "dead wrong about the election."
"It's over, everybody. You know the reason I know? Joe Biden is sleeping in Donald Trump's bed," Christie said. "And we need as a party to move forward. We can't look backwards. We can't be a party of vindictiveness and vendettas. We cannot be a party of settling scores 'for me.' We have to be a party of creating opportunity and inspiration 'for us.'"
Among potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Christie joins others long in Trump's camp in criticizing the most popular member of their party.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has defended himself against Trump's insistence that he could have and should have unilaterally overturned the results of the 2020 election — a power vice presidents do not possess — calling his former boss "wrong." Separately, Pence also said that "there is no room in this party for apologists for Putin."
Early polls show that Trump remains the decisive favorite among GOP voters if he chooses to mount another run. Without Trump in the race, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis so far appears to be the early favorite.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.