An ABC News article calling for the "cleansing" of the movement of President Trump's supporters was stealth-edited after critics questioned the charged word.
"Even aside from impeachment and 25th Amendment talk, Trump will be an ex-president in 13 days," ABC's Rick Klein and MaryAlice Parks wrote for The Note on Thursday. "The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part. Cleansing the movement he commands, or getting rid of what he represents to so many Americans, is going to be something else."
It now reads, "Cleaning up the movement he commands, or getting rid of what he represents to so many Americans, is going to be something else."
Klein also shared the original phrase on Twitter before deleting it.
The term "cleansing" drew criticism on the right, which viewed it as a violent term in a week where bipartisan outrage has erputed over the mob mayhem at the U.S. Capitol this week.
"You may not like it, but it’s perfectly within Klein’s right to say everything he said," the Media Research Center's Nick Kangadis wrote. "He can celebrate that Trump is leaving office all he wants. But it is the height of hypocrisy for those in the media to condemn others for violent acts that are dwarfed in comparison to the consistent violence of the far-left — one act doesn’t justify the other — and then go out and call for something like a 'cleansing' of people and think there’s nothing wrong with a statement like that."
Klein leads the network's political coverage and provides analysis across its platforms.
Trump is facing bipartisan calls for his removal from office after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday and disrupted the certification proceedings for President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Trump had continued to claim earlier in the day the 2020 election had been stolen from him and pressured Vice President Mike Pence to reject what he viewed as fraudulent electors.
At least five deaths have been linked to the mayhem at the Capitol, including a police officer.
Trump has since issued calls for peace and said he will begin the transition to Biden's presidency, but his acknowledgment of his defeat comes nearly two months after the election.