Donald Trump’s populist base has serious issues with the New York congresswoman who’s poised to replace Rep. Liz Cheney.
Donald Trump has called Elise Stefanik “a new Republican star,” a “smart communicator” and — perhaps his highest praise — “tough.”
But the MAGA faithful aren’t so sure.
Within minutes of Trump’s endorsement of the New York congresswoman for GOP conference chair on Wednesday, top MAGA voices erupted in anger — a rare break with the former president. The invective aimed at Stefanik, who was perceived to be insufficiently conservative and a relative newcomer to the Trump cause, continued to zoom through the MAGA-sphere on Thursday.
The Columbia Bugle — an anonymously-run Twitter account with nearly 179,000 followers, including high-profile Trump movement influencers — described Stefanik as “a slightly less annoying America Last Republican.” Lou Dobbs, the former Fox Business show host who was one of Trump’s fiercest cable television supporters, dismissed her as a “RINO.”
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.
Though she received praise and support from other MAGA-friendly politicians — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and, of course, Trump himself — it was a hostile grassroots reception for the congresswoman pitched as a MAGA-worthy option to replace Rep. Liz Cheney in GOP leadership. Cheney’s ouster from the number three Republican position in the House appears almost certain following her sustained criticism of Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud, a politically suicidal position in a party where the former president remains popular with the GOP base.
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