Former RNC chairman: 'Silly' to blame Gov. Christie for Romney's loss

"[Y]ou're going to take 18 months of a presidential campaign — you know, nine or 10 of which Mitt Romney had complete control over — and boil it down to Chris Christie saying a nice thing about the president of the United States. Give me a break. I mean, that's what makes this so silly and so unfortunate. We got our clocks cleaned," said Steele on MSNBC's "Jansing & Co."

Christie, a surrogate for Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, publicly praised Obama's response to the storm after New Jersey was hit by Sandy. The storm battered the Northeast the week before Election Day, prompting the president and Romney to pause their campaigns and focus on relief efforts.

After Obama and Christie toured the damage, the New Jersey governor touted the president in a press conference, saying, “I cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion” and noting, “It’s been very good working with the president and his administration. It’s been wonderful.”

Conservative pundits, as well as former Romney campaign staffers, griped that the images of Christie alongside Obama might have hurt Romney's chances of winning the election.

However, Steele argued that the critics of Christie look "awfully petty and downright silly." Steele also denied that the governor's actions would hamper his chances at a 2016 presidential run.

"In fact, it makes those who are criticizing him look awfully petty and downright silly, quite honestly. I think, you know, kudos to Gov. Christie for doing his job. He's the governor of a state that was ravaged by a storm. He turned to the president for help. The president was there. And look, you're not going to kick the president in the shins for helping him. I mean, what did they expect Christie to do? So I think a lot of this is just crazy," Steele said.

The former RNC chairman and MSNBC contributor called on the Republican Party to move forward and focus on the "next campaign."

"Let's pick ourselves up, regroup our troops, reorganize ourselves, work on our message, reconnect with voters and get ready for the next big campaign, which is not necessarily in 2014, but going toe to toe with the president on the big issues of the day that people want us to have a debate about and let Chris Christie be Chris Christie and do his job as governor," he said.