Elise Stefanik Speaks at the Knesset Then Throws Down on Fox News Sunday Over Her Support of Trump

On Sunday, Republican Rep. and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (NY) gave a speech in Israel at the Knesset, the country’s parliament, to affirm the Republican House of Representatives’ support of Israel and to condemn President Joe Biden’s “betrayal of the important U.S./Israel alliance.” 

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) harshly denounced President Biden’s policy toward Israel during a speech to the country’s parliament, the Knesset, on Sunday in Tel Aviv. 
Stefanik, the highest-ranking Republican to visit Israel since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, blasted the president’s warnings that he could withhold support for Israel if it invades Rafah in Gaza.
“I have been clear at home and I will be clear here: There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel — aid that was duly passed by the Congress, or to ease sanctions on Iran, paying a $6 billion ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, or to dither and hide while our friends fight for their lives,” Stefanik said in prepared remarks reviewed by The Hill.
“No excuse. Full stop,” she added. “It’s why I have sponsored, or backed, every measure to aid Israel that has come before the U.S. Congress. Every single one.”

Off that pivotal speech, Stefanik made an appearance on Fox News Sunday with Shannon Bream to discuss why she traveled overseas to give the speech. Stefanik told Bream, “The American people stand strongly with Israel, as do House Republicans. Joe Biden has turned his back on Israel.”

After a discussion about the meat and potatoes of the address and Biden’s attempts to block armaments to Israel that Congress voted to send, Bream made an attempt at “gotcha” journalism. Bream led into the discussion of Stefanik being on the short list of former president and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s vice presidential picks. Bream then brought up that in 2016, Stefanik opposed Trump. Bream quoted from a New York Times December 2022 article and a January 2023 Opinion Letter, which mention Stefanik’s less-than-complimentary prior statements concerning the former president. Bream then asked Stefanik why she changed her mind about Trump. 

While Bream’s question is fair, the fact that she chose to pull from a years-old piece from—of all places—the New York Times makes me question Bream’s true intent. While Stefanik was lukewarm toward Trump early in 2016, she is not wrong that she did ultimately support his nomination.

In the wake of Donald Trump sewing up the GOP presidential nomination, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, reiterated a tepid endorsement of “my party’s nominee” but could not bring herself to say the New York mogul’s name.
In response to an Albany Times Union query, Stefanik released a statement repeating her past pledge of party loyalty. It came just prior to Trump’s victory in the Indiana primary on Tuesday, which forced his last remaining opponents — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — from the race.
“Like my Democratic opponent, I will support my party’s nominee in the fall,” Stefanik said in the statement, referring to retired Army Col. Mike Derrick of Peru, Clinton County. “My primary focus is serving my constituents to the best of my ability and I’m proud to have spent my first term in Congress working to deliver on my campaign promise to bring new ideas and a new generation of leadership to Washington.”
Asked whether post-Indiana she cared to add the name “Donald Trump,” her campaign consultant and spokesman Lenny Alcivar responded “our statements remain operative.”
“No candidate at any level in America, Democrat of Republican, is going to agree with the presidential standard bearers 100 percent of time and Elise Stefanik is no different,” Alcivar said.

The New York Times hasn’t just written one hit piece about Elise Stefanik. Their fervor over the No. 3 in GOP leadership has taken on jilted lover status. Part of Stefanik’s job description as GOP chair involves unifying House Republicans around their presidential nominee—it is the main reason that Wyoming Congresswoman and former GOP Chair Liz Cheney was replaced in the first place. So the clutch the pearls and fainting couches around the New York Times editorial offices is way dramatic. Their articles are less about Stefanik’s policies, her record, or how she works for her constituents, and more about how she morphed from a moderate (read, sane) Republican into a MAGA poster child. Oh, the horror! Their diatribes ramped up significantly after Stefanik dared to step into Cheney’s shoes. 

Here is the hit piece that Bream quoted from.

To rise through the Trump-era G.O.P., a young congresswoman gave up her friends, her mentors and her ideals. Will it be enough?
Ms. Stefanik’s reinvention has made her a case study in the collapse of the old Republican establishment and its willing absorption into the new, Trump-dominated one. But as Republicans prepare to take control of the House in the coming days, her climb to MAGA stardom may also be a cautionary tale. 

But it wasn’t just the dethroning of Liz Cheney. It was also the fact that during the impeachment hearings, Stefanik dared to question the Democrat’s efforts and called lying CA Rep. Adam Schiff out on his… schiff. This really brought on the Haterade from the New York Times and other leftist circles.

In a December 30, 2020, New York Times opinion piece, Stefanik was named “most disappointing.” 

Since her 2014 election, the New York Republican had pitched herself as the sane, moderate future of her party, with a special focus on improving its reputation with women. So it’s been particularly galling to watch her carry water for the most antidemocratic, misogynistic president in memory.

Every New York Times headline between 2021 and 2023 tells the tale of their obsession with painting Elise Stefanik with the brush of turncoat traitor. 

May 14, 2021.

The rapid rise of Representative Elise Stefanik of New York to the post of chief pro-Trump messenger in the ongoing battle for the soul of the G.O.P. has sparked a flurry of media reports about how a supposed onetime moderate Republican metamorphosed into a full-fledged fire-breathing far-right conservative.

March 27, 2022.

Elise Stefanik, Reinvented in Trump’s Image, Embodies a Changed G.O.P.

Once a mainstream Republican from a moderate district, Ms. Stefanik, the party’s No. 3 House leader, has embraced Trumpism and the extremists in her ranks.
That Ms. Stefanik, 37, would be hosting this particular party seemed fitting. A once-moderate Republican who worked in President George W. Bush’s White House and was a protégé of former Speaker Paul D. Ryan, she is the embodiment of the rapid shift in the Republican Party. In just a few short years, she has morphed from the conservative mainstream into an unlikely star of the MAGA universe and a die-hard Trump loyalist.
In an interview on the sidelines of the party retreat, her reinvention was on vivid display. Ms. Stefanik repeated Mr. Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being stolen and refused to acknowledge Mr. Biden as the legitimately elected president.

So, while Stefanik’s reaction may have been less than measured, her challenging Bream’s sources and premise was totally legitimate. Had Bream had better or more varied sources, Stefanik might have responded in a less testy fashion about her evolution. After all, Stefanik’s journey is reflective of many others in the nation. People who, in the past, found Trump distasteful or out and outright opposed him but now would walk over hot coals to vote for him because we literally have a country to save. 

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