Following is a transcript of Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) interview on CNN’s State of the Union television program.
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TAPPER: Former President Trump held a rally last night in Ohio targeted at a congressman, a Republican congressman who voted to impeach him.
And he, of course, kept pushing last night again the big lie that the 2020 election was rigged. This all comes as Arizona Republicans are completing their ridiculous partisan audit. Other states are considering doing the same.
Even former Attorney General Bill Barr called it all in an interview in “The Atlantic” magazine — and you will pardon my French — “bullshit.” That’s a quote from the attorney general, former attorney general.
Do these repeated lies about the election, the whitewashing of what happened January 6, do you think it undermines American democracy? And, if so, do you think that more of your Republican colleagues need to speak out?
ROMNEY: Well, I do think it’s important for each person to speak the truth and to make clear that the big lie is exactly that.
I can tell you that it is surely being used around the world to minimize the support for democracy. I mean, there’s a battle going on in the world right now between the autocratic nations, like China and Russia, and nations that believe in democracy.
And if the autocratic nations can point to the United States, which is the birthplace really of this modern democracy, and can say, look, they can’t even run an election there that’s not fraudulent, how can you possibly run it in your country, that obviously is having an impact on the cause of democracy and freedom around the world.
But I also think, frankly, Jake, that, here in the U.S., there’s a growing recognition that this is a bit like WWF, that it’s entertaining, but it’s not real. And I know people want to say, yes, they believe in the big lie in some cases, but I think people recognize that it’s a lot of show and bombast, but it’s going nowhere. The election is over. It was fair.
Look, the president was saying — was crying foul on election night and actually before election night. And the question is, what were his sources of information? Where did he hear that the election had been fraudulently carried out?
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 MyPillow guy? Rudy Giuliani?
ROMNEY: What were their sources of information?
I mean, it’s pretty clear the election was fair. It wasn’t the outcome that the president wanted, but let’s move on.
TAPPER: Speaker Pelosi announced this week she is going to form a select committee to investigate the insurrection on January 6. You have been very clear about the fact that Joe Biden won the election, the big lie is a big lie, the insurrection was a disgrace.
Your personal preference, would you rather have people like Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Congressman Peter Meijer on this committee, this select committee, than, for instance, Marjorie Taylor Greene?
And are you worried about the kinds of Republicans that Kevin McCarthy might appoint to this select committee?
ROMNEY: Well, I hope he appoints people that are seen as being credible and are willing to look at the evidence on a clear-eyed basis.
I think the American people are interested in getting to the bottom of some of the outstanding issues. Look, as you know, I voted in favor of a bipartisan commission. I think that would have had more credibility. Just having a commission which is established under the speaker of the House obviously leaves credibility in the lurch.
And yet there will be an effort to look back at what happened on January 6. I think there are questions that are appropriate to be evaluated.
From my standpoint, one question is, why did it take so long for security to come to the Capitol and to rescue the Capitol Police that were battling away and to make sure that the vice president was safe and his family was safe, as well as other elected officials? How — why was the delay so long?
What — 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?
So, these are questions I think people want to know the answers to. A lot has already been evaluated. The work that has been done by a Senate committee, two committees, actually, that looked at this, I think was pretty comprehensive. But there are still questions that people want answered.
And, look, that was a terrible day in American history. And it’s going to be used against us around the world. It already is by China and Russia. It has huge implications. It should never happen again. And any effort to understand why it happened is, in my opinion, appropriate.