In the past, Melissa DeRosa — a top aide to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — was on very friendly terms with Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is on track to become the third highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives if she replaces Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as House Republican Conference chair. But journalist Charlotte Alter, in a Twitter thread posted this week, explains how their relationship went sour as Stefanik became more and more of a Trump loyalist.
Stefanik, who had been friends with DeRosa since middle school, wasn't always a MAGA Republican. When she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, Stefanik was a more conventional conservative and an ally of then-Rep. Paul Ryan — who became House speaker the following year. And in 2015 and 2016, Stefanik was, at times, quite critical of Donald Trump. But the more Trumpified Stefanik became, Alter explains in her thread, the worse her relationship with DeRosa became.
Alter notes that in 2019, DeRosa told her that Stefanik had always been "so morally supportive" of her and attended her wedding. On January 4, 2019, DeRosa affectionately tweeted, "We may not agree on everything, but I will never stop being in awe of my little sister and middle school student council running mate, @EliseStefanik. Nothing but class." And Stefanik responded, "Thx, Missy."
But Alter goes on to say that "by 2021," DeRosa and Stefanik were "in open war." And the 2020 election had a lot to do with it.
After Trump lost to now-President Joe Biden in 2020, Stefanik showed how MAGA she had become by promoting the Big Lie and Trump's totally debunked claims of widespread voter fraud. And after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, DeRosa tweeted, "@EliseStefanik was complicit in an attempt to overthrow the United States government. The effort resulted in 5 deaths, including a law enforcement officer." Stefanik, meanwhile, was kissing up to Trump and his GOP allies by slamming DeRosa's boss, Gov. Cuomo, as "the worst governor in America."
Alter notes that when she was writing her 2020 book, "The Ones We've Been Waiting For: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America," she called DeRosa — who praised Stefanik as "supportive" and "bipartisan." But when Alter reached out to DeRosa's office in connection with a recent article for Time, a DeRosa spokesperson said that Stefanik had "sold her soul to the Devil."
Alter's Time article, published over the weekend, focuses on how dramatically Stefanik has changed for the worse.
In the article, Alter explains, "Elise Stefanik is no Matt Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene. She was not always a MAGA warrior. Not long ago, she was a widely respected moderate Republican known for her embrace of facts, her trust in science and her push to build a more diverse party, highlighted by her successful efforts to recruit more GOP women to run for office. She was a prominent member of the moderate Tuesday Group, a caucus of center-right Republicans."
One of the interviewees for the piece, former Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, offered some scathing criticism of Stefanik — telling Time, "To be a handmaiden of Trump and get a little pat on the head from Trump is not a leadership move. It's embarrassing. It's sad."
Margaret Hoover, who worked with Stefanik at the George W. Bush White House during the 2000s and now hosts PBS' "Firing Line," was equally critical of Stefanik and told Time, "Trump has won the Republican Party. Trump owns it. It is the key to (Stefanik's) reelections, it is the key to her fundraising, it's the key to her advancement within Congress. She knows how to play it; so, that's what she's doing. Never mind that it's undermining democracy. She's made a calculation that she can rise to power by backing the Big Lie."
Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez was censured by the Ohio Republican Party this past week, alongside another nine GOP lawmakers, over their role in voting in favor of former President Donald Trump's impeachment. But the Ohio Republican Party isn't stopping with merely censuring Gonzalez; now they want him to submit in his resignation letter.
"On Friday, the party's governing board called on Gonzalez, R-Rocky River, to resign in a divided vote. They also voted to censure Gonzalez and nine other members of Congress for "their votes to support the unconstitutional, politically motivated impeachment proceeding against President Donald J. Trump," according to the resolution," The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
While Ohio has long been considered a swing state, home to more moderate Republicans such as Senator Rob Portman and former Speaker of the House John Boehner, the modern-day Ohio GOP has taken steps to align themselves with the party of Trump, made ever so clear by the move to oust "RINO's" (Republicans only in name) such as Gonzalez.
Ohio State senator Shannon Burns, a member of the state's central committee, has since called for Gonzalez to resign, stating that he "betrayed his constituents" and "demonstrated a hidden vendetta against" the former president. Burns went onto claim that Gonzalez "relied on his emotions rather than the will of his constituents and any credible facts" when considering the Trump impeachment charges.
"Ohio Republicans had planned to vote on censuring Gonzalez and the other House Republicans on Friday, but a resolution to call for Gonzalez's resignation was first introduced during the meeting, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Republican Party told CNN, and was then passed by the central committee," CNN reported on Friday.
In January, following his vote to impeach Trump, Gonzalez said in a statement that he took the measure to impeach over the president's role to "incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress." Gonzalez further argued that Trump "abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present."
Gonzalez's primary challenger, Max Miller, who has been endorsed by Trump, also seized on the move to censure, tweeting, "The Ohio GOP has voted to hold Anthony Gonzalez accountable for abandoning his constituents, his promises, and the Republican Party. Regardless if he resigns or not, we are going to continue spreading our strong, pro-Trump, America First message to every corner of this district."
While the vote to venture Gonzalez wasn't a focal point of Cleveland conservative radio host Bob Frantz, the vote did receive the support of pro-Trump candidates in the state.
"From day one, I have strongly supported efforts to censure and expel traitor Congressmen like Anthony Gonzalez who voted to impeach President Trump," said far-right Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel.
The move to censure Gonzalez comes as GOP leaders back in Washinton, D.C. tussle with the prospects of ousting House Republican chairwoman Liz Cheney from her post over her staunch opposition to Trump as early as Wednesday. While Trump-friendly allies say Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik should take over Cheney's role, many Trumpworld characters argue Stefanik might not be loyal enough to Trump. "Others, like pundits Ann Coulter and Raheem Kassam, editor in chief of the populist online outlet National Pulse, went on a retweeting spree, highlighting writer after writer, tweet after tweet, questioning Stefanik's commitment to the Trump movement's core tenets, particularly on immigration," Politico noted on Friday.
Democracy in America could end and the cause could be the refusal of Republicans to hurt Donald Trump's feelings.
At a campaign rally in October, Trump worried about what would happen if he lost to Joe Biden.
"Could you imagine if I lose?" Trump said at a rally in Georgia. "My whole life, what am I going to do? I'm going to say, 'I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics.' I'm not going to feel so good. Maybe I'll have to leave the country. I don't know."
Of course, Trump went on to be the first Republican to lose Georgia in 28 years -- all while losing the presidency.
Trump's hurt feelings could now be driving the GOP voter suppression efforts, according to David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.
"And listen, Donald Trump is not the leader of a political party, he is a cult leader," Plouffe told MSNBC's Brian Williams.
"And what's surprising to me is this is somebody who ran for president twice and failed to get more than 47% of the vote either time. Black swan event in 2016, he got a narrow elective college majority. This is not somebody who did well in presidential elections," he said.
"And the big sin, of course, is they want to put themselves in charge of basically deciding who won elections. Not election officials, hack Republican legislators all to basically to coddle Donald Trump's feeling," he explained.
"It is a remarkable thing, we could lose our country because these Republican politicians don't want to hurt Donald Trump's feelings," Plouffe concluded.
Trump's feelings www.youtube.com
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