Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) may be the woman Republican lawmakers are eliciting in hopes of ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) over her disapproval of former President Donald Trump. However, in the past, Stefanik has also had strong opinions about Trump.
Although Stefanik has emerged as a vocal supporter of the disgraced embattled president, the truth is she wasn't always as supportive of his rhetoric and policies, according to CNN. The publication notes a number of occasions over the last several years where Stefanik has sounded off about Trump.
In December 2015, Stefanik appeared on a local radio show where she expressed concern about presidential candidates making "untruthful statements." Although she did not mention Trump's name explicitly, she appears to have alluded to his habit of making false claims.
"I think in the presidential field, there are some candidates — who over the long run and they've already started this process — are somewhat disqualifying themselves with untruthful statements," she said at the time. "Not being willing to really talk about the substance of issues and just firing away rhetorical devices that don't necessarily have a basis in fact."
Stefanik also has a history of criticizing Trump's controversial rhetoric. In 2016, she said, "Unfortunately, it's tapping into the fear today of our security situation," adding, "I think we should expect more substance out of our candidates."
At one point, Stefanik also sounded off about Trump's disparaging remarks about women. In August 2015, Stefanik weighed in with her reaction to Trump's highly publicized remarks about former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
"I think he has been insulting to women," Stefanik said at the time. "I think this may be Mr. Trump's peak moment. And I think we're going to see his numbers change and decline over the coming weeks and months as the other candidates have an opportunity to share their vision for the future of this country."
She continued, "We need to ensure that we're increasing our party's ability to reach out to women," adding, "And I work on that in Congress. I care passionately about that. And Donald Trump's comments have not helped that effort. They've hurt that effort."
Stefanik has also gone on record for condemning Trump's previously proposed Muslim ban. When the former president was on the campaign trail, he expressed interest in placing a discriminatory ban on Muslims to prevent them from entering the United States. However, that was a stance the New York lawmaker strongly disagreed with.
"This is not who we are as a country... This is not according to our constitutional principle." Stefanik said, adding, "And I associate myself with Speaker (Paul) Ryan's comment just saying there is no place for what Trump said about Muslims in this country."
However, when Stefanik appeared on Steve Bannon's podcast on Thursday, May 6, she revealed the moment she began to pivot. She claimed to have "really paid attention to the voters and the people in my district" who strongly supported Trump.
Stefanik added, "The energy was just palpable. Anyone on the ground or who was knocking on doors, talking to voters, understood that it was going to be a historic election. The media didn't get it. The establishment didn't get it. I was proud to be a part of it. And I was proud to be on that ticket and to win by a huge, huge margin as well as President Trump's huge double-digit victory in my district."
Republicans may be seeking to replace Cheney but Stefanik's past remarks highlight a hypocritical stance that may not benefit the pro-Trump Republican agenda.