Great Britain

Elise Stefanik backs conspiracy-driven Arizona vote ‘audit’ and rails at Twitter on Steve Bannon podcast

Elise Stefanik highlighted her credentials regarding Donald Trump’s unfounded accusations of electoral fraud and her support for the Arizona vote “audit” during an appearance on Steve Bannon’s podcast on Thursday.

The New York representative, expected to soon become the Republican Party’s conference chair in Congress replacing Liz Cheney, decried how she believes the 2020 election was conducted.

Asked by Mr Bannon about her thoughts on what is happening in Arizona, Ms Stefanik said she fully supports the audit and wants transparency and a strong electoral system.

“We want transparency and answers for the American people — what are the Democrats so afraid of?” she said.

The audit of Maricopa County, where much of Arizona’s population lives and which was won by Joe Biden in November, was ordered by the Republican-controlled state Senate despite objections by the county.

Three earlier reviews of results have shown no evidence of widespread fraud or reason to doubt the results. The current review is being conducted by the Florida-based company Cyber Ninjas, whose founder supports Mr Trump’s “stolen” election lies.

Ms Cheney is likely to be ousted from her position due to her refusal to buy into the “big lie” that the election was stolen from Mr Trump as much of the party has chosen to repeat despite there being no evidence. She also voted to impeach Mr Trump in his second impeachment trial.

Ms Stefanik has a history of pushing false claims about the conduct of the election in some states won by Joe Biden, as well as amplifying claims of major electoral “irregularities”.

In addition, she previously supported a lawsuit that tried to get the Supreme Court to overturn Mr Biden’s victory, and even after the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol, voted to reject some of the Democrat’s electoral votes.

CNN notes that while Ms Stefanik has not matched Mr Trump’s more incendiary language, she has “aided his damaging campaign to undermine confidence in the result”.

Mr Trump endorsed Mr Stefanik to take over from Ms Cheney on Wednesday via a blog post, for which she enthusiastically thanked him.

“We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritise the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair,” the former president said. “Elise is a tough and smart communicator!”

Further boosting her pro-Trump credentials ahead of any vote among House Republicans to take over from Ms Cheney, Ms Stefanik also took the opportunity of her appearance onWar Room to call out Twitter.

Her communications director Karoline Leavitt had her account on the platform briefly suspended on Thursday — a move that Twitter has since said was a mistake and reversed.

Ms Stefanik used it as an opportunity to rail against big tech accusing the company of “an unconstitutional overreach silencing our voices and freedom of speech” from her own account.

On Mr Bannon’s show she said: “They said it was a mistake, but again, it only happens to conservatives.”

She added that it was an example of why big tech needs to be broken up and Section 230, the law which gives social media companies legal immunity in many instances, needs to be repealed.

Ms Stefanik, 36, has represented New York’s largely rural 21st congressional district since 2015. She was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time.

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