Updated: May 8
Elise Stefanik may be Trump's pick to replace Cheney--but Trumpian she is not.
Don't get me wrong, I am happy that there is a chance that neocon, anti-Trump, war hawk Liz Cheney will be ousted from her leadership position by the end of this year. This is very good news, as it opens the seat up for a more authentic conservative, and sets a precedent for potential removal of weak, corrupt leadership in the House. And the optics of someone worse than Cheney on policy but less hostile towards National Populism in the eyes of the media would be an improvement alone, as that person would not go on CNN and bash Trump or his base. However, I cannot stay silent when Trump shoots his own movement in the foot by endorsing someone who does not appear to be a conservative leader in any way, shape, or form. Trump endorsed Elise Stefanik for the position, who has positioned herself as a rising star in the party. However, many questions have arisen that put doubt into many conservatives' heads that she is actually a true conservative.
First of all, the elephant in the room here is Stefanik's past position on the issue of immigration. She has been a supporter of amnesty in the past, earning herself an F from NumbersUSA. When Trump took power, she did work her way up to a C-, but now that he is gone, she has reverted down to a D- for this Congress. She opposed Trump's travel ban on terror-prone nations in the Middle East, and has historically supported increasing guest worker visas. She is even to the left of many Democrats on the issue of immigration, such as Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard. Not exactly a very good look for a "rising star" who is being promoted by Trump. It is true that people evolve and change on the issues, especially those as young as Stefanik, but there is little signs of her evolving much on the issue of immigration, and has many other problems that must be addressed as well.
Stefanik only voted with President Trump 76% of the time. Even RINOs like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney voted with him 90%+ of the time. She said that conservatives need to be more accepting of pro-choice arguments, opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords, bought into the net neutrality hysteria of 2017, and supported reducing religious liberty with her support of the "Equality Act" back in the 116th Congress. You think that like most establishment conservatives, that she would at least support Trump's Tax Cut bill, right? Nope, she voted against that too. And instead of some people who oppose it for populist reasons because it cut corporate taxes (which I believe is well-meaning, yet misguided criticism), she voted against it for the most elitist reason possible: because Trump closed loopholes for her megadonors via the elimination of the SALT deductions.
Yes, a party with a clear opportunity at cementing its status as the socially conservative and working class party decides to make this individual a rising star. At a very minimum, Stefanik should have to apologize for her past views, or at least explain them to Trump's base. I hope that she is an effective co-chair who stands up for us, but it seems as if her past record should make us all very skeptical at the least. There are many options out there that would have made a much better choice. I hope that Trump did not make this selection due to affirmative action based off of Stefanik being a woman (as Cheney was), but even if he wanted to go down that route, there are plenty of women that would be a much better choice than her. It is up to us to be wary of Stefanik, and it is entirely possible that she may be evolving and better than expected (see her "no" vote on recent amnesty legislation). But until then, we must be willing to call her out when she acts no better than Cheney on several issues.