In a new radio interview for North Country Public Radio, news director David Sommerstein and freelance reporter Zach Hirsch discussed how Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) contributed to the disinformation and lies that fueled the January 6 Capitol insurrection, just ahead of the first anniversary of the incident.
"She made a lot of false and misleading statements about the 2020 presidential election, both before and on January 6th. She had said that she planned to object to certifying the final results for some states, but that was based on claims that many state and federal courts had already dismissed," noted Hirsch. "These were also claims that Republican election officials rejected because there just wasn’t evidence."
"And then, on January 6th, after police had finally secured the Capitol and cleared the rioters, Congress reconvened," Hirsch continued. "And then Congresswoman Stefanik got up on the House floor and contested the election. She said tens of millions of Americans were 'rightly concerned' about voting irregularities, and she said things about the election that were not true." Among her claims was that Georgia "unconstitutionally gutted signature matching" for mail-in ballots.
Ultimately, after the riot, Stefanik disavowed the attack as "anti-American" — but absolved Trump, who originated the Big Lie and was identified as the inspiration by the rioters themselves, and opposed the effort to impeach the former president over the matter.
Stefanik, who became a fan favorite of Trump supporters after rising to prominence giving angry speeches against the first Trump impeachment in 2019, was ultimately elevated by the GOP to chair of the House Republican Conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who fell from grace after blaming Trump for the events and voting to impeach him. Cheney is now serving on the House Select Committee tasked with probing the attack.
Listen to the radio interview here.