Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called President Trump’s conspiracy theories “nutty and loopy” and described his attempts to overturn the election defeat to Joe Biden as “really sad” and “embarrassing”.

The Utah Republican senator also praised the Democratic president-elect as a “clear-eyed intelligent individual”.

Romney told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “[Donald Trump’s] leaving Washington with a whole series of conspiracy theories and things that are so nutty and loopy that people are shaking their head wondering what in the world has gotten into this man.”

This follows reports that the president was considering naming attorney Sidney Powell as a special counsel to investigate baseless claims of the election being rigged.

She has shared such allegations without evidence on Twitter.

It has also been reported that Trump discussed imposing martial law — calling in the military — in key swing states to overturn the result, as well as talk of seizing voting machines in the White House.

“It’s not going to happen. That’s going nowhere,” Romney said.

“And I understand the president is casting about trying to find some way to have a different result than the one that was delivered by the American people, but it’s really sad in a lot of respects and embarrassing.

“Because the president could right now be writing the last chapter of this administration, with a victory lap with regards to the vaccine. After all, he pushed aggressively to get the vaccine developed and distributed, that’s happening on a quick timeframe. He could be going out and championing this extraordinary success.”

When questioned on changes to the Republican party, Romney said it had “taken a different course” and “strayed” from key values.

“I don’t see us returning to that for a long time. As I look at the 2024 contenders, most of them are trying to become as much like Donald Trump as they can be,” he added.

Romney was the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump in his impeachment trial in February.

Donald Trump Jr called for Romney to be expelled from the Republican party after he announced the decision to do so.

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