The following editorial underscores the fact the Elise Stefanik has abandoned any pretense of serving the interests anyone other than Donald Trump and his treasonous allies. — wfw
When Donald Trump was running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Saratoga, had serious concerns
She questioned Trump’s character after he smeared a Gold Star family for endorsing Hillary Clinton, and again after the leak of an infamous video of him making crude comments on “Access Hollywood.” She criticized Trump’s proposed Mexico border wall as unrealistic. Earlier, she had warned that Trump was unlikely to release his tax returns if nominated; after initially doubting that he’d win, Stefanik tersely vowed to support “my party’s nominee” without mentioning his name.
Perhaps most unpalatable of all for Stefanik, an ostensible foreign policy expert who once worked at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was Trump’s reckless, ignorant kowtowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin and half-cocked remarks about dismantling NATO and stealing Iraq’s oil.
“His statements regarding NATO, his statements regarding Putin, regarding some of the positions in regards to Iraq that he made, regarding the oil fields — I absolutely oppose those,” Stefanik said in an interview with North Country Public Radio.
Trump of course won his party’s nomination, and around this time Stefanik adopted a new persona seemingly pulled from one of Trump’s cameos in pro wrestling: taunting, smearing and sneering at her critics, as if politics is nothing more serious than mere showmanship. She cut off contact with local newspapers and TV stations in her district that might ask serious questions, instead relying solely on friendly appearances with Fox News’ Sean Hannity and other national right-wing media figures. We expect the same from her, now that her district includes all of Schoharie and part of northern Otsego County.
Stefanik’s new persona bolstered her campaign fundraising efforts, especially around the time of Trump’s first impeachment trial. The evidence was cut and dry: Trump threatened to withhold vital defense assistance from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy unless he agreed to launch a phony investigation of Joe Biden’s family as he sought the Democratic nomination to run against Trump. Trump only backed down and released the arms shipments after widespread outrage and public pressure. Few scandals in American political history have been more despicable — or more obvious.
By now, Stefanik’s transformation from a conscientious, traditional Republican to the sleaziest sort of politician was complete. Her response to the existential threat Putin and Trump posed to democracy itself? To smear the witnesses testifying against Trump, such as retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient whose family fled from Soviet Ukraine in 1979. It was a calculating career move for Stefanik: her newfound cult-like devotion to Trump was the sole reason for her elevation to the House Republicans’ No. 3 post, which was occupied by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, until she dared to criticize Trump for attempting to steal the 2020 presidential election by unleashing a bloodthirsty mob on the U.S. Capitol.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has made it clear who was on the right side of history all along. Readers should remember this as Stefanik — perhaps spurred by a guilty conscience — attempts to pin responsibility for this tragedy on President Joe Biden, who has proven to be a steady hand and a thorn in Putin’s side in rallying a coalition to help the Ukrainians fend him off. When Stefanik attacked Biden again this week, she provoked the anger of the Vindmans. Vindman’s wife, Rachel, didn’t mince words in her response to Stefanik, the mother of a newborn, saying: “When you hold your new baby I want you to think of the mothers of Ukraine who will never see their children again because you abdicated your responsibility to hold Trump accountable for his extortion.”
Vindman himself wrote of Stefanik: “Putin is responsible for this war, but you deserve a great deal of responsibility for it. It is your vile attacks on our democracy that suggested to Putin he can conduct this war.”