Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) desperately wants to be Donald Trump's running mate this year. She is a 20.0 on the Richter Scale for Opportunism. Going from an unknown backbencher to #4 in the House Republican caucus in 2021 to vice presidential candidate in 2024 would be an amazing career progression. And all she had to do was spout some nonsense about Trump that she doesn't believe. She is a Harvard graduate in government and a five-term representative so she clearly is smart enough to know how the game is played, and she is playing it well.
Stefanik recently told CNN's Kaitlan Collins that if she had been vice president on Jan. 6, she would not have certified the electoral vote. In other words, she would have violated the Constitution to please Donald Trump, something that even Mike Pence refused to do:
She probably meant what she said, since on Jan. 6, she voted not to certify the results in Pennsylvania (although she did vote to certify the Arizona results). The difference may be that she disagreed with the decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concerning mail-in ballots. Even though she is not a lawyer, she felt she somehow knew more about Pennsylvania law than the seven justices on that court.
When Collins asked point-blank if she has been vetted as a potential veep candidate, Stefanik said: "I would [be] proud to serve in a Trump administration, but we have a lot to do." There is no reason to think she would swap her job as chair of the House Republican conference (and possible future speaker of the House) for secretary of anything. No, she is gunning for that bucket of warm ... liquid.
Would she be a good choice? Depends on whether you mean on the campaign trail or in the Big Chair should Trump win and eat his last Big Mac while sitting there. Stefanik is a lot smarter than Sarah Palin, but at 39 hardly has the gravitas expected in a president. She might even be counterproductive on the ticket. After all, Democrats could observe, apparently quite correctly, that if Stefanik becomes VP, she won't accept a Democratic victory in 4 years, thus leading to a constitutional crisis. And would Stefanik counter the voters that would be lost to that line of attack by pulling in women? Certainly not Black ones and probably very few white ones since the women who might appreciate her are already planning to vote for Trump.
As to the Big Chair, independents who are worried about a President Harris might be equally (or more) worried about a President Stefanik. After all Harris (59) was San Francisco D.A., two-term California AG, U.S. senator for 4 years, and vice president for 4 years. Stefanik's résumé is quite a bit thinner. She would be one of the least-prepared presidents in modern history. She is good at being Trumpy and holding congressional hearings where she can attack university presidents, but she is probably even less prepared to run the federal government than Trump. Trump, at least, had extensive experience running the Trump Organization, which is a conglomerate of over 500 companies, so he knows something about managing a moderate-size operation. Stefanik has never managed anything bigger than her own staff. As president, she would be in way over her head. Imagine her negotiating with Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping. We'd rather not imagine that. (V)