ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos and some panelists on ABC News' "This Week" appeared to come down with a sudden case of amnesia Sunday.
While discussing the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and the prevalence of political violence, conservative commentator Sarah Isgur was forced to remind Stephanopoulos that one must look no further than 2016 for another example of one political party questioning election results and engaging in violence in Washington, D.C.
In response to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll that discovered 1 in 3 Americans believe violence against the government can be justified, Stephanopoulos framed the issue as one unique to the Republican Party by noting only the GOP breakdown from the poll.
But Isgur, a staff writer at the Dispatch and an ABC News contributor, quickly fact-checked Stephanopoulos.
"When I look forward to 2024, I'm deeply concerned by these numbers because what it says to me is that people on both sides are not ready to accept the results of the next election," she said.
"Both sides?" Stephanopoulos questioned.
"I absolutely think that is the case," Isgur responded.
In fact, while Stephanopoulos noted that 40% of Republicans in the survey approved of violence against the government, he neglected to explain the same poll found that 41% of independent voters agreed, as did 23% of Democratic voters.
As Isgur explained, one must look only to Hillary Clinton questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump's 2016 victory for the last time, prior to 2020, that one political party openly doubted electoral legitimacy.
"You look back at 2017, look at the ABC poll on whether Trump was legitimately elected. It was about six to eight points off of this one right now, not that far off. Hillary Clinton, asked in 2017, was Trump legitimately elected, point blank? She did not say yes. She said she had questions," Isgur said. "You think Democrats, if Donald Trump runs again, if Donald Trump wins in 2024, you think Democrats are going to think he was legitimately elected? You got to be kidding me."
Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson then claimed "no precedent" exists for what happened in 2020 and on Jan. 6 and claimed that the problem is found "purely in the Republican camp."
Who is correct?
As Isgur pointed out, Hillary Clinton openly questioned the legitimacy of Trump's victory.
For example, Clinton told Mother Jones in Nov. 2017, "I think that there are lots of questions about its legitimacy and we don't have a method for contesting that in our system. That's why I've long advocated for an independent commission to get to the bottom of what happened."
Meanwhile, on Inauguration Day 2017, violence plagued the nation's capital as protesters, angry over Trump's victory, rioted. According to NBC News, police arrested more than 200 rioters that day. Multiple police officers sustained injuries during the violence, several businesses were damaged, and one limousine was infamously torched.
Thus, questioning the legitimacy of an electoral outcome and voicing displeasure through the use of violence is not unique to either party in recent history, but is an escalating issue — which was Isgur's exact point.