Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) found herself the latest target of the Democrats after she referred to January 6 prisoners as “hostages.” Representative Dan Goldman (D-NY) wasted no time in declaring that he would formally censure Stefanik for “promoting voter fraud conspiracy theories” that he alleges led up to the riots at the Capitol.
But for Goldman, talk is cheap. He claims he will not seek a quick turnaround on the matter, saying that he preferred that Republicans recognize that “that kind of rhetoric has to stop” and should “find a spine and stand up to Donald Trump.” Goldman warned that if GOP leaders fail to censure Stefanik, he would “force a future vote” on the matter.
Stefanik expressed concerns about the treatment of individuals she referred to as “Jan. 6 hostages,” aligning with former President Donald J. Trump’s terminology for his supporters who face charges related to the Capitol attack. Her statements mark a reverse of position – Stefanik had previously urged the Justice Department to prosecute those responsible for the events on January 6.
Additionally, she asserted that there is a weaponization of the federal government targeting not only President Trump but also conservatives.
Goldman’s censure measure against Representative Elise Stefanik alleges that she filed vindictive ethics complaints against a federal judge overseeing criminal cases related to the January 6 incident. It also accuses her of “falsely characterizing” Trump’s indictments at the hands of special counsel Jack Smith as “attempts to criminalize the First Amendment.”
Goldman played a prominent role as the lead counsel for House Democrats during President Trump’s first impeachment inquiry. During that time, Elise Stefanik unexpectedly became one of Trump’s most assertive defenders on the Intelligence Committee.
Her loyalty has been noted, and her potential to be Trump’s running mate is raising alarms in the Democrat machine. Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) weighed in on the attempt to discredit Stefanik, stating that she should be “ashamed of herself.” Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) speculated on social media that Stefanik’s use of the phrase “hostages” was chosen because she is “auditioning to be Trump’s running mate.”
Trump made waves last week on Fox News by announcing he had already chosen a running mate. Topping that list is Stefanik, who will be campaigning in New Hampshire alongside Trump just days before its primary. Notably, Stefanik was the first Congress member to endorse Trump. Chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon confirmed she is “at the top” of the shortlist.
Stefanik became a household name in December following her confrontation about campus anti-Semitism with university leaders. Following her now-viral take-down of liberal university leaders, Trump admiringly noted, “She’s a killer.”
Two out of three of the presidents Stefanik grilled regarding antisemitism on their campuses have stepped down, and the event led to a substantial increase in campaign donations. According to her political team, she raised a record-breaking $5.2 million in the final quarter of the previous year.
While Trump considers Stefanik one of his most loyal allies in Congress, his advisers maintain that no official conversations about the vice presidency have occurred. Trump has expressed a preference for selecting a woman for the role, and when asked about the possibility of serving as Trump’s running mate, Stefanik expressed her willingness to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration.
Trump has previously said that Stefanik would make a good running mate, but a campaign advisor cautioned that the GOP frontrunner is “superstitious” and doesn’t want to get ahead of any potential VP decisions.
Stefanik is just one of several speakers scheduled to appear on stage ahead of former President Trump during an event in Concord. Various Trump surrogates, including members of Congress, have been actively campaigning for Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Stefanik’s presence in New Hampshire is particularly noteworthy, as some Republican lawmakers and strategists believe it to be part of an effort to position herself as a potential running mate for Trump.
Nikki Haley was among those Trump was considering late last year, but while her moderate stance might attract swing voters and moderate Republicans, her views are polar opposite to what Trump might expect to accomplish during his second term. Another contender is Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH), a pick Donald Trump Jr. would fully support. Noting Vance’s shared vision of stopping illegal immigration and his America First approach to foreign policy, Trump Jr. said, “I’d love to see a J.D. Vance. People who are principally in alignment as well as aggressive.”
Other notable names have been floated for the position, including Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, former HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL), and even entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who recently dropped from the GOP race.
But Democrats are focusing their ire on Stefanik, indicating their belief that she may come out on top of Trump’s list. And it’s never too early to try to destroy a candidate.