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Elise Stefanik Lashes Out At Fox Host Who Confronted Her Over Calling Trump A 'Whack Job'

After Fox host Shannon Bream confronted Rep. Elise Stefanik with New York Times reporting of her past disdain for Donald Trump, Stefanik flipped out on Bream, calling it a 'smear.'

Shannon Bream; Elise Stefanik
Fox News

If there's one thing the MAGA movement hates, it's having their own words and actions coming back to expose their hypocrisy, opportunism, and lack of integrity.

But rather than not continue to be inauthentic, the response—from the top with former Republican President Donald Trump down to the bottom with his MAGA minions—is to blatantly lie and angrily deny regardless of the eyewitnesses, audio, and video proof.

House Republican Chair New York Representative Elise Stefanik deployed that tactic during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

You can watch the moment here:

Host Shannon Bream told Stefanik:

"[I] want to talk to you about the Veepstakes. Your name is continually thrown out as being on the shortlist."

The Fox host then referred to the trip to Israel Stefanik was currently on as an audition to be Trump's 2024 running mate.

Bream then moved on to a January, 2023 New York Times article questioning Stefanik's MAGA bona fides.

She said:

"The New York Times had a lengthy piece where they talk about your transformation—they say—from somebody who is not supportive of President Trump to somebody who is full-throatedly supportive of him."
"They say you called him a whack job at one point. They add this."

Bream then read directly from The Times article:

"'In August 2015, she told a New York radio station that he was "insulting to women" and that his candidacy would hurt the party's efforts to attract female voters. According to her former friends', they continue, 'she thought Mr. Trump was too awful and ridiculous to be taken seriously'."
"'Her revisionism still shocks those who have known her the longest and remember the disdain she expressed for Mr. Trump back then'."

She asked Stefanik:

"So the question is when—more importantly why—did you change your mind about President Trump."

Stefanik didn't respond well to having her own past words and her friends' accounts of her comments put on public display. Rather than use the chance to say how Trump's actions or character made her change her mind, the New York Republican opted to play the victim card.

Visibly upset, Stefanik replied:

"Well, Shannon, it’s a disgrace that you would quote The New York Times with nameless, faceless false sources."

Bream countered:

"But, they are quoting your friends, so I’m giving you a chance to respond to that."

Stefanik continued:

"No, no, no, Shannon. Shannon, Shannon, they’re not quoting my friends. Those names are not included because they are false smears. I was attacked."

Bream interjected:

"To be fair there are a number of names..."

Frustrated with having her false narrative fact-checked, Stefanik interrupted with:

"No, Shannon! Shannon!"




Undeterred, Bream finished her correction of Stefanik's spin, saying:

"...a number of names of people who are quoted in the article."

Speaking over each other, Stefanik said:

"Shannon, let me correct you..."

While Bream countered:

"People can read it for themselves."

Guess Big Sky GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy

Stefanik then added the rest of her deflection, stumbling over her denial while stating:

"This is a, this is a false smear. And let me tell you. Let me tell you a fact, Shannon."
"In 2016, I was attacked as the only elected Republican from the northeast who voted for President Trump. Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking me for that fact, so to say that I didn’t support him is just false."

But the comments from the article are from 2015—before Trump was the GOP presidential candidate.


Stefanik flipping her 2015 stance as soon as Trump came into a position of power was the point of the article, making the Republican Representative's "fact" less than a compelling rebuttal and more of a confirmation.

"I have been proud to be one of the strongest supporters. Going back to when he ran for 2016, which was when it was my first reelection to the House."
"I have strongly supported him. He is going to be the next President of the United States. The American people know that. My constituents know that."
"And I’m proud to be one of his strongest allies in Congress. I have always put my district first—New York 21—first and America first. And this is an opportunity for us to stop the failures of Joe Biden and elect a President who led to a booming economy, a strong national security."
"But my record speaks for itself, Shannon."

The Biden-Harris HQ account shared the rest of Stefanik's attempt to escape her own words, captioned:

"Fox host: The New York Times quoted you on a radio station calling Trump 'insulting to women.' Is that a misquote, did you not say that?"
"Trump contender VP Elise Stefanik: I did say that. But I still stood by him. It's a disgrace you would take a New York Times article and just read the quotes."

Bream gave Stefanik a second opportunity to own her words and explain why she changed her mind, saying:

"Listen, I understand where you are now.
"Let me ask you, though, because they quote you on a radio station calling him ‘insulting to women.’ Is that a misquote? Did you not say that?"

But Stefanik decided to go with the blame the Democrats tactic instead.

"I said the statement that the Democrats leaked out in 2016, that that was insulting."


Stefanik didn't specify which statement she was referring to, but it may be the infamous Access Hollywood "grab 'em by the pussy" audio file that came to light in 2016. However several news outlets documented Stefanik's criticism of Trump throughout 2015, 2016 and early in his only term as President.

The 3rd highest ranked Republican in the House of Representatives continued:

"However, Shannon, I stood by and supported him and I strongly support him and he has done so much to promote women in senior positions, as well as promote women’s economic opportunity that we experienced out of the four years of his administration. So I’ve been proud to support him."
"It’s a disgrace that you would take a New York Times article and just read negative quotes when the reality was, I was the only Republican elected woman from the northeast who voted for him in 2016, and who has strongly supported him. And I’m proud to be one of his strongest allies today."

Seeming to give up on giving Stefanik a chance to directly address the backlash over her opportunism and hypocrisy, Bream ended the interview saying:

"Okay, we know where you are today. Folks can go read that article for themselves. There are plenty of names, people who went on the record, and we’ll leave it there."
"Clearly, you are supportive of him now, and we will track and follow."


But Stefanik wasn't done deflecting from the original question.

After the host indicated the interview had ended, she added:

"As I was supportive of him then. Shannon, in 2016, as you know. So I hope he will tell the viewers that as well, which I voted for him in 2016 and was attacked for doing so."



People thought the interview reeked of desperation.

Stefanik was probably hoping to project strength, integrity or commitment to Trump.




People added commentary on Stefanik's Fox performance across social media.

It was all less than complimentary.






People wondered why Fox News was suddenly pushing back against Trump's potential VP choices.

But there were theories to explain it.



Many people had a larger question.

The integrity of the GOP as a whole was debatable.




Stefanik is hardly the only Republican to do an abrupt about face to further their political career.

She's joined by a host of other members of the GOP.



South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham has been called out often for his ride-or-die allegiance to Trump after vehemently opposing his candidacy.

In May of 2016, Graham tweeted:

"If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it."


As of 2024, Graham's post is still garnering responses and reposts.

The Senate is full of Trump critics now clamoring for his attention and support, including Texas' Ted Cruz, Florida's Marco Rubio, South Carolina's Tim Scott, and Ohio's J.D. Vance.

Former Trump administration member Nikki Haley, Trump campaign advisor Chris Christie, and former 2024 GOP presidential rival Vivek Ramaswamy also faced criticism for their flip-flopping between criticism and enabling of the 45th President before, during and after his lone term in office.