Elise Stefanik insists Trump is 'the president' in bid to snag GOP leadership spot


Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik says, 'This is also about being one team.'

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) appeared on former Donald Trump aide and white supremacist sympathizer Steve Bannon's podcast on Thursday to make her case for ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from the No. 3 spot in House GOP leadership.

In the process, Stefanik spread election lies by endorsing the shoddy and conspiracy theory-fueled audit of Arizona's election results, which the Department of Justice said may be running afoul of federal law.

Stefanik is seeking to oust Cheney from GOP leadership while Republicans are mad that Cheney won't support Trump's lies about the 2020 election.

Cheney has been vocal in saying Trump's voter fraud lies are damaging to democracy, and that she believes he should be disqualified from leading the Republican Party after he helped incite the Capitol insurrection.

Stefanik, on the other hand, is embracing Trump. Throughout the interview, the congresswoman continually referred to Trump as "the president."

"My vision is to run with support from the president [sic] and his coalition of voters," Stefanik told Bannon.

"This is also about being one team," Stefanik added. "And I'm committed to being a voice and sending a clear message that we are one team, and that means working with the president and working with all of our excellent Republican members of Congress."

Unlike Cheney, Stefanik voted to overturn President Joe Biden's victory on the day of the deadly insurrection and has shamelessly made baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 election.

On Jan. 6, the day of the Capitol riot, Stefanik published an "open letter" to her constituents where she made the baseless claim that "more than 140,000 votes came from underage, deceased, and otherwise unauthorized voters — in Fulton County alone." (Fulton County is one of the largest and most heavily Democratic counties in Georgia.)

That claim resurfaced after Stefanik launched her bid to oust Cheney from leadership. When asked about it, Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Stefanik's comment was "ludicrous."

"The suggestion that one-fourth of all ballots cast in Fulton County in November were illegal is ludicrous," Raffensperger told CNN's Daniel Dale.

The congresswoman is also backing the GOP's shady audit of over 2 million Maricopa County ballots.

"I fully support the audit in Arizona," Stefanik told Bannon. "We want transparency and answers for the American people. What are the Democrats so afraid of?"

Among the things Democrats might be "afraid of": the audit is being run by a Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist who spread lies about voter fraud in an effort to overturn Trump's loss.

Multiple reports say the auditors are not properly securing ballots or following proper protocols when handling ballots, leading to fears that whatever comes from the audit won't be accurate. And auditors are focused on bogus and racist conspiracy theories, including a false theory about watermarks on ballots that started in QAnon circles and a strikingly racist claim that thousands of fraudulent ballots were flown in from Asia.

Two previous audits already found there was no fraud in the state in 2020, yet Republicans forced this third audit anyway.

Trump has officially endorsed Stefanik's bid to replace Cheney.

"Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership," Trump wrote on Wednesday on his new blog, since he has been booted from major social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. "We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.