Former Fox Editor Defends Controversial Call for Biden

Chris Stirewalt led team that called pivotal Arizona for Biden, angering Trump
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2022 12:04 PM CDT
Former Fox News Editor Defends Election-Night Call
Former Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt is sworn in.   (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP)

His is not a household name, but Chris Stirewalt made big waves on election night in 2020 in his role as a political editor for Fox News. On Day Two of a House panel's Jan. 6 hearings, Stirewalt testified Monday about his team's decision to call Arizona for Joe Biden ahead of the other major networks, a move that angered Trump and his supporters. Stirewalt—he was fired from Fox last year, but the network says it was part of restructuring and unrelated to the election, per Forbes—walked the panel through the consequential call. He said Fox went to "pains" to tell viewers to beware a "red mirage"—the idea that a Republican lead on election night would be fleeting because of early-voting ballots still to be counted. In the 2020 election, the effect would be more pronounced than usual.

“The Trump campaign and the president had made it clear that they were going to try to exploit this anomaly,” Stirewalt said, per the Washington Post. "Everyone understood for weeks … that was what was going to happen on election night," he said, per Deadline. Stirewalt said his team knew calling Arizona would be "consequential" because of its swing-state role, but they were confident in their system, correctly as it turned out. "When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, it doesn’t matter which piece you put in first. It ends up with the same image."

He also weighed in on Trump's chances of victory after election night. In a word, "none." Trump would have needed three states to flip in his favor after being called for Biden. "Remember, he had to do it thrice, he needed three of these states to change," he said, per the Hill. "And in order to do that, I mean, you're at, you’re at an infinite, you're better off to play the Powerball than to have that come in." (Earlier, Liz Cheney referenced an "apparently" drunk Rudy Giuliani giving Trump election-night advice.)

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