WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Extreme political partisanship in Washington helped fuel former President Donald Trump’s effort to undermine the 2020 election results, NewsNation’s political editor Chris Stirewalt said in an exclusive interview with Leland Vittert following his testimony in front of the Jan. 6 House Committee Monday.
Stirewalt blamed both parties for allowing hyper-partisanship, and the pursuit of political power, to drive decision-making at the expense of America’s longstanding institutions in the wake of the 2020 Election.
“I watched both parties fail us and both parties refused to do the necessary thing. Because the necessary thing at times like this is to say: ‘I don’t care whether it hurts me or helps me, I don’t care whether this was good for me, good for the other side — this is the right thing to do,'” he said.
Stirewalt’s comments were part of a wide-ranging interview with Vittert, a large portion of which was aired exclusively during “On Balance with Leland Vittert” Monday. An additional segment was aired on Dan Abrams Live at 9 p.m. Eastern during which Stirewalt will also appear live. You can find NewsNation on your broadcast provider here.
Stirewalt touched on multiple issues during the interview: from the partisanship of the media to attacks on his decision while at Fox News to call the state of Arizona for President Joe Biden during the 2020 election, to the work of the Jan. 6 House committee itself.
But he spent a notable amount of the interview focused on how politicians on both sides of the aisle could have done better to protect American democracy. For example, Stirewalt called out Senate Republicans for failing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot investigation but also blamed Democrats for making a show of the impeachment proceedings that followed.
“What we saw from the leadership in both parties was not a profile in courage, was not a willingness to suffer pain politically in order to get to the truth and get things done,” said Stirewalt.
Watch the full interview:
Stirewalt also pointed to the failure of Congress to reform the Electoral Count Act — which would clarify the role that Congress plays in certifying election results — as another example of the country’s political dysfunction.
“The fact that we have not seen bipartisan reform on that question, to address this, is yet another bipartisan failing to really deal with security,” said Stirewalt. “We cannot go through this again in 2024.”
The longtime election expert, who now works as NewsNation’s political editor, called on members of both parties to put partisanship aside in order to restore faith in American democracy.
“To save this republic we will need people of good faith who are Democrats and Republicans to work together,” said Stirewalt.
On Monday, Stirewalt testified as an election expert before the Jan. 6 House committee.
As part of his testimony, Stirewalt explained the phenomenon known as the “red mirage” — an observation that Republican voters are more likely to cast in-person ballots, which are often counted earlier on Election Day.
For that reason, Republican candidates often jump out to early leads as votes are counted but that doesn’t always reflect the final outcome.
He said former President Donald Trump exploited that trend to unfairly cast doubt on mail-in ballots which were counted later and more likely to favor Biden.