WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitt Romney says it's time for former President Donald Trump to move on from the "big lie" about the 2020 election because continued claims of election fraud undermine democracy across the globe.
"I can tell you that it is surely being used around the world to minimize the support for democracy. There is a battle going on in the world right now between the autocratic nations like China and Russia and nations that believe in democracy," the Utah Republican told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
Autocratic countries can point to the United States and say it can't run an election that is not fraudulent, so how can other nations?
"That, obviously, is having an impact on the cause of democracy and freedom around the world," Romney said.
Romney noted Trump was crying foul even before election night, adding the question of what his sources of information were.
"Did he hear it from the Justice Department? No. Did he hear it from the intelligence community? No. So, where did he hear it from? The My Pillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?" he said. "It's pretty clear the election was fair. It wasn't the outcome that the president wanted, but let's move on."
Mike Lindell, the founder and CEO of My Pillow, is a prominent Trump supporter and adviser.
At his first rally since leaving office, Trump repeated his baseless claims of fraud to a crowd in northeast Ohio over the weekend.
"We won the election twice and it's possible we'll have to win it a third time. It's possible," he said.
Romney, who voted twice in the Senate to remove Trump from office, said he believes there is growing recognition "that this is a bit like WWF (World Wrestling Federation, now called WWE), that it's entertaining but it's not real. I know people want to say they believe in the big lie in some cases, but I think people recognize that it's a lot of show and bombast."
But, he added, it's going nowhere. "The election was fair," he said.
Tapper also asked Romney about the select committee House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., created to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Romney said he hopes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., appoints Republicans who are seen as credible and take a "clear-eyed" look at the evidence.
"I think the American people are interested in getting to the bottom of some of the outstanding issues," said Romney, who was among six Republicans siding with the Democrats in a failed effort last month to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly attack.
It's pretty clear the election was fair. It wasn't the outcome that the president wanted, but let's move on.
–Utah Sen. Mitt Romney
The senator said there are questions about that day that should be evaluated, including why it took so long for security to make sure the vice president and other elected officials were safe. A Capitol Police officer guided Romney away from rioters as he fled the Senate chamber.
"Why was the delay so long? Why didn't the Pentagon, for instance, move more quickly? What happened in the White House? Why didn't action immediately occur to protect the vice president?" Romney said.
Like claims of election fraud, China, Russia and other countries are using the riot, which he called a terrible day in American history, against the United States, he said.
"It has huge implications," Romney said. "It should never happen again. Any effort to understand why it happened is, in my opinion, appropriate."