As the Republican Party falls in line with Donald Trump, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is continuing to stand by her man, this time by refusing to commit to certifying the November election results.
“We will see if this is a legal and valid election,” Stefanik, the fourth-highest-ranking House Republican and chair of the House GOP Conference, told NBC’s Kristen Welker on Meet the Press.
“What we’re seeing so far is that Democrats are so desperate they’re trying to remove President Trump from the ballot. That is the suppression of the American people,” she said, referring to recent decisions in Colorado and Maine to bar Trump from their respective ballots based on a little-known constitutional provision that disqualifies officials who have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” from running for public office. (The former president has appealed Colorado’s decision to the Supreme Court, which agreed on Friday to hear the case.)
When Welker pressed for clarity, Stefanik said she would only commit to certifying the results “if they are constitutional.” She then proceeded to repeat the unfounded and discredited conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen.
Of course, Stefanik’s promotion of the falsehood is unsurprising: The onetime moderate, who at one point called Trump misogynistic, rose to her position as the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House by riding this very wave of election denialism, successfully booting Liz Cheney from the post in the process. And in the hours after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Stefanik was one of 147 Republicans who voted to overturn election results.
But as Welker noted on Sunday, Stefanik’s insistence that the 2020 election was unconstitutional is not based in reality, nor has it found success in the courts. Trump has filed more than 60 lawsuits alleging the election was stolen; each one was found to be without merit. Additionally, two independent firms hired by the Trump campaign to investigate the results found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Yet, such facts continue to evade a growing number of Republicans, as well as American voters. As I reported last week, a sobering new Washington Post/University of Maryland poll showed that 36 percent of Americans overall, and 31 percent of Republicans, do not believe President Biden was legitimately elected.
On #MTP, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) says she will only commit to certifying the 2024 presidential election results if they are “constitutional,” reiterating disproven claims that the 2020 elections were “unconstitutional.”
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 8, 2024
Stefanik on Sunday went on to continue parroting other Trump talking points, including repeating the former president’s language that the people arrested for their actions on Jan. 6 are “hostages.” She also stood by Trump’s racist claim that migrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” which, as I wrote last month, scholars say echoes the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler.
All of this made more sense in the final minutes of the interview when Welker asked Stefanik if she would serve as Trump’s vice presidential nominee if asked. “I, of course, would be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration,” Stefanik replied.
In other words, she won’t be leaving Trump’s side anytime soon.