Stephanopoulos: Biggest debate question should be ‘Who won the last election?’

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos says it’s “very simple” what should be the most pressing question posed to former President Trump and President Biden when they take the presidential debate stage this month: “Who won the last election?”

“If you can’t pass that fundamental threshold … then I think that’s all voters and viewers need to know,” he said during a CNN interview this week. “If you’re willing to lie about something as big as that, why should anything else you want to talk about be given any credence?”

Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate in Atlanta on June 27 in an event hosted by CNN. Their second debate, hosted by ABC News, is scheduled for Sept. 10.

After losing to Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Trump has continued to dismiss the election outcome. His unfounded claims of wide-spread fraud in the election prompted his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to try to stop the certification of Biden’s victory.

Stephanopoulos has frequently pressed Republicans — particularly Trump allies — in the past over their reluctance to accept the 2020 election results.

“I’ve made it a point, if they will not accept those facts, I don’t go on to other issues,” he said. “I’m not going to participate in some kind of sham where you somehow equate the legitimacy of an election or the peaceful transfer of power with a debate over tax cuts or environmental regulations.”

Trump said in an interview last month that he’ll accept the 2024 election results “if everything’s honest” — a condition he’s set without elaborating several times. But Stephanopoulos said the debate stage will be a “real test” if Trump plans to stick with his position that the 2020 election was “rigged” in front of millions of viewers and his political foe Biden.

“It’s fundamental the very question of whether or not you accept the election results,” the ABC host said. “It’s absolutely a fundamental issue people should be confronted with.”

ABC announced that its anchors David Muir and Linsey Davis will moderate the September debate. Trump has separately also been in a legal clash with the network, filing a lawsuit against ABC and Stephanopoulos earlier this year over defamation claims.

A former Democratic operative and White House aide to then-President Clinton, Stephanopoulos recently penned the historical nonfiction “The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis.”

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