In pushing unproven conspiracy theories about the outcome of the presidential election — theories dismissed by our own court systems and discounted by top leaders of her own political party — Rep. Elise Stefanik failed to lead when the nation needed a calming and rational voice.
Stefanik has been a strong supporter of President Trump. She was a prominent voice in his defense during his impeachment proceeding last year and was among the leaders of his re-election campaign in New York.
There’s nothing wrong with being loyal to someone you agree with and respect — except when it interferes with your own duties and responsibilities as a public official.
Then, personal loyalties need to take a back seat to your obligations.
Even after dozens of courts and judges deemed the election fair and just, even after government officials from both political parties in all 50 states certified the results of the election, even after every conspiracy theory was discredited and every questionable action was deemed legitimate, Stefanik continued to sing the president’s tune about a rigged election.
Stefanik can’t be blamed for the riots at the Capitol, any more than anyone else who voices an opinion can be.
But as a recognized leader in her political party and an elected representative in our government, she did lend the legitimacy of her office to the causes that inspired the rioters.
And even after law enforcement regained control of the Capitol following Wednesday’s bloody siege, even after she and her staff had been protected from the insurgents, and even after our governing bodies resumed the act of governing the country, she continued to promote false and conspiratorial rhetoric, cleverly getting around making a direct statement of support by saying “tens of millions of Americans are concerned” about it.
The time for debating the results had passed.
This was now a time for our elected leaders to rise above politics, not to further engage in it.
At this crucial time, when unity was demanded, Stefanik voted against certifying Pennsylvania’s electoral votes and continued to cast doubts on the veracity of the election.
While she has the right to her opinion and the right to call for debate, she also has a responsibility to be truthful with the American people.
When the time came for her to do that, she decided against it.