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Stefanik takes center stage at Republican National Convention

Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 3:49 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Wednesday night, the North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) will speak to her party and the nation. But first, the rising star in the GOP offered us a preview of what’s to come.

For many political observers it can seem like there are two sides of Stefanik. There’s the moderate – with a reputation for working across the aisle, and more recently, the fierce defender of the president, vocally backing him in Congress and on cable news.

You can expect the latter to be primarily on display Wednesday night.

“My priority is making sure the North Country has a seat at the table and is heard in front of a national audience,” she said, “I’m going to highlight the positive of President Trump’s record, and touch upon Joe Biden’s 47-years of failure.”

In our interview, Stefanik did not offer a full accounting of Biden’s alleged missteps, but praised president Trump’s economic track record, support for the military, and handling of the pandemic.

Despite the president’s repeated assurances coronavirus would be quickly contained, the death count now stands at more than 170,000, and America averages 40,000 new infections every day.

Thus far, New York has been hit harder than other other state in the nation. “We were ambushed, because the federal government failed,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) recently told the press.

We asked Stefanik whether the administration has been held accountable enough, noting that her constituents don’t have to look far to the Canada in the North to see a country with substantially fewer deaths and infection even once one accounts for population.

Stefanik argues America leads the world in testing, and any blame, rests with China and New York’s own government. “If you look at where deaths were highest, it was because of Gov. Cuomo’s failed leadership and nursing home policies,” she said.

Four years ago, asked about then-candidate Trump, Stefanik offered only lukewarm support. But, she consistently downplays disagreements – like when she voted against the president’s signature tax cuts in 2017 or called for more COVID testing and federal support this April.

When she supports the president, she’s full-throated, as witnessed during the impeachment saga – which won her praise on Twitter from the president himself.

For Stefanik, a member who ranks as one of the most bi-partisan in Congress, and skipped 2016′s convention altogether, taking center stage tonight reflects a new standing within her own party.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

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