CNN anchor Jake Tapper tore into Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., over her support for former President Trump as the rising star in the Republican Party is expected to join House leadership.
Stefanik has become the leading candidate to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., as the current GOP conference chair has been facing growing opposition over her ongoing spat with Trump about the 2020 presidential election and the events of Jan. 6.
However, critics have slammed Stefanik over her recent comments supporting an audit of Arizona’s election results and even some on the right are questioning her conservative credentials over her voting record and her past work in George W. Bush’s administration.
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On Thursday’s installment of “The Lead,” CNN correspondent Jamie Gangel explained to Tapper how Stefanik was once a “moderate” but that an “ally” to the congresswoman told Gangel that “the only way to survive was to pivot to Donald Trump.”
“I said, ‘Does she really believe in Trump or is it political expediency,’ this person said ‘I have no idea but she’s holding onto him tight,'” Gangel said.
“Yeah, a lot of people who used to work with her in the Bush White House say that they don’t recognize her,” Tapper responded. “And they don’t know if it’s an act or if she, you know, got a lobotomy.”
Tapper’s expressed animous towards Stefanik also translated on social media after he retweeted one of her critics slammed the GOP congresswoman for saying it was an “unconstitutional overreach” for Twitter to suspend her communications director’s account, which was ultimately reversed by the tech giant following an “error.”
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“It’s not unconstitutional and when you tweet stuff like this you look stupid and like you should never have been admitted to a top flight university,” GOP strategist Liz Mair wrote, which the CNN anchor shared to his followers.
Fox News reached out to Rep. Stefanik’s office and campaign for comment.
Stefanik has gotten the backing of several of her GOP colleagues to replace Cheney as conference chair ahead of next week’s vote, but some conservatives are sounding the alarm about the New York representative’s rise to leadership by pointing to her congressional voting record which shows she has a weaker standing in voting with then-President Trump than even Cheney.
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According to a tool on the FiveThirtyEight website on “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,” Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to 77.7% for Stefanik.
The conservative group Heritage Action, meanwhile, gave Cheney a 91% score compared to just 56% for Stefanik during the most recent Congress. And the American Conservative Union, which hosted the extraordinarily pro-Trump Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) earlier this year, gives Cheney a 78% rating compared to just 44% for Stefanik.
Fox News’ Tyler Olsen contributed to this report.