House Republicans Elect Pro-Trump Stefanik to Leadership Role

U.S. House Republicans approved Representative Elise Stefanik on Friday for a top leadership spot, sending a powerful message about the direction of the party by elevating the New York congresswoman noted for her support of former president Donald Trump.     The 36-year-old Stefanik takes over the position of House Republican Party conference chair from Representative Liz Cheney, who was removed Wednesday after calling Trump’s allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election “a big lie.”    Thank you to my colleagues for electing me to serve as House Republican Conference Chair and to my constituents across FILE – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill, April 22, 2021.In February, Cheney was the top-ranking Republican to vote to impeach Trump for inciting that riot. Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy did not vote to impeach but said on the House floor, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”    But McCarthy endorsed Stefanik for the leadership spot earlier this week, saying Republicans “need to be united.”    A four-term member of Congress, Stefanik has a far more moderate voting record than Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.   Stefanik grew up in upstate New York and was the first in her family to earn a college degree, according to her official biography. Stefanik’s district voted for former President Barack Obama twice before flipping to Trump in the 2016 election. According to her office, Stefanik won ”both 2018 and 2020 by the largest margin of any Republican in the Northeast.”     Stefanik is also a top Republican fundraiser, raising $15 million in the last election cycle while campaigning heavily to elect more Republican women into office.   The New York lawmaker was also one of 138 House Republicans who objected to the 2020 election results, saying, ”Tens of millions of Americans are concerned that the 2020 election featured unconstitutional overreach by unelected state officials and judges ignoring state election laws. We can and we should peacefully and respectfully discuss these concerns.”   But George Washington University’s Brown said Stefanik will have to be careful not to be a top target for a Democratic takeover during the 2022 mid-term election.    “She is also still in a very competitive district. And while she may be wooing the Republican base, she is also now distancing herself from the independents and moderates who were in her district who helped her win election,” Brown said.    


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