Former President Donald Trump is reportedly considering Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as his potential vice presidential pick if he secures the Republican Party’s nomination. The news surfaced following Stefanik’s announcement that she would be campaigning alongside Trump in New Hampshire ahead of the state’s pivotal first-in-the-nation primaries.
According to NBC News, the revelation took place during a candlelit dinner at Mar-a-Lago in late December, where Trump engaged in discussions about crucial decisions he would face if he became the Republican nominee. Attendees at the dinner table brought up Stefanik, praising her notable performance just weeks prior when she grilled university presidents about antisemitism on campus during a congressional hearing.
Describing Stefanik as a “killer,” Trump signaled his approval at the thought of her as a potential running mate, according to sources present at the event. Since then, a growing circle of allies, including individuals within Trump’s orbit, Stefanik’s fundraising bundlers, and former Trump administration officials, have been closely examining her as a viable vice presidential candidate, according to the report.
Stefanik gained national attention for her approach in challenging the leadership of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the hearing. Her pointed question regarding the violation of college rules on bullying and harassment in the context of calling for the genocide of Jews prompted two resignations and stirred significant criticism against the institutions involved.
According to Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, “Stefanik is at the top” when considering qualities that Trump values, with loyalty being paramount. A Republican campaign operative echoed this sentiment, emphasizing Trump’s inclination for a loyal running mate, especially in light of his perception of former Vice President Mike Pence’s actions as a “fatal sin.”
Stefanik, who initially aligned with moderate Republican positions during Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, underwent a transformation towards a more conservative stance, establishing herself as one of Trump’s top allies in Congress after his victory in 2016.
While Stefanik refrained from directly commenting on her potential candidacy, she expressed her focus on her current role in Congress. “I’m not going to get into any of my conversations with President Trump. I’m honored to call him a friend. I’m proud to be the first member of Congress to have endorsed his re-election, and he had a huge win in Iowa. So we’re very excited about that,” Stefanik stated when approached by NBC News.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr
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