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Elise Stefanik on replacement theory: “I’ve never made a racist comment”

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said she has never made a “racist comment” when asked if she disavowed the racist conspiracy theory that apparently motivated the gunman in the Buffalo supermarket massacre.

In the days since the deadly mass shooting that claimed 10 lives in her home state, Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, has come under scrutiny over Facebook campaign ads that critics say play on the “Great Replacement Theory.”

The ideology, reportedly espoused by the suspected gunman in Saturday’s attack that predominantly targeted Black people, claims that immigrants and people of color are “replacing” and disempowering white Americans.

Stefanik’s Facebook ads, which prompted a scathing editorial in her hometown newspaper, accused “radical Democrats” of planning what she called a “PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION” and said their plan to “grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”

Democrats and even some Republicans have criticized Stefanik and other members of the Republican Party, saying they promoted the rhetoric that led to the Buffalo rampage.

On Monday, CNN correspondent Manu Raj caught up with Stefanik and asked for her response to the criticism.

“I condemn racism,” she told him. “The difference of opinion on immigration is I support a secure border, while Democrats have advisory boards. I don’t support allowing illegals to vote.”

Asked by Raj if she repudiated replacement theory, Stefanik said: “I’ve never made a racist comment.”

That exchange came after Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called out elected officials who “jump at the chance to get featured on [Tucker] Carlson’s show and echo his white supremacist blather, his dark gospel of fear and hate and racism.”

“We don’t have to look far to find those elected officials,” Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor. “The third-ranking House Republican claimed in a campaign ahead that Democratic immigration policies would quote, ‘overthrow our current electorate,'” he said. “What will it finally take for the Republican Party to condemn his hate once and for all?”

Wyoming GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her leadership post and replaced by Stefanik last year, also called on Republican leaders to “renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”

In a tweet, she said: “The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) speaks during a news conference with fellow House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Monday, Stefanik’s team released statements that were earlier sent to Newsweek, attacking the media for its reporting on the New York congresswoman amid the recent shooting.

“Any implication or attempt to blame the heinous shooting in Buffalo on the Congresswoman is a new disgusting low for the Left, their Never Trump allies, and the sycophant stenographers in the media,” Stefanik’s senior adviser Alex DeGrasse said.

“Despite sickening and false reporting, Congresswoman Stefanik has never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement. She opposes mass amnesty for illegal immigrants and Joe Biden‘s wide open border.”

In her statement, Stefanik said: “Our nation is heartbroken and saddened to hear the tragic news of the horrific loss of life in Buffalo, NY. As a New Yorker, I am praying for the entire community and loved ones.”

Stefanik’s team has been contacted for additional comment.



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