Stefanik silent after Trump says immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood’ of US

Stefanik silent after Trump says immigrants are ‘poisoning the blood’ of US

Elise Stefanik relished the role of Ivy League inquisitor in a high-profile hearing on antisemitism in academia. But when it comes to Donald Trump’s recent divisive comments about migrants “poisoning the blood” of America, she’s staying silent.

After she went viral with her questioning of university presidents about hate speech on their campuses, the No. 4 House Republican declared to POLITICO that “a reckoning” is due for those who don’t stand up to antisemitism. Stefanik did not return repeated requests for comment, however, about Trump’s weekend rhetoric — which echoed Adolf Hitler’s use of the term “blood poisoning” in his manifesto “Mein Kampf,” where he criticized the mixing of races.

“They let — I think the real number is 15, 16 million people into our country. When they do that, we got a lot of work to do. They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump said about migrants at a New Hampshire rally on Saturday.

Stefanik touted her fight against antisemitic speech in the wake of her questioning of the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania. All three university presidents equivocated when the New York Republican asked if calls for genocide against Jews would violate their campus codes of conduct, sparking a rush of notably bipartisan fury with elite academic institutions over their handling of public tension during the Israel-Hamas war. The moment looked poised to reshape Stefanik’s public image as a onetime moderate turned Trump defender.

Her silence about Trump’s remarks, which the Biden campaign likened to Hitler’s, risks unraveling that shift. And it highlights a bigger problem that congressional Republicans are facing with their presidential frontrunner, who’s famed for his use of offensive rhetoric, including open invocation of antisemitic tropes. The more he pushes the limits of campaign-trail commentary toward invective, the more Trump puts GOP lawmakers like Stefanik on defense — when they’d rather hit liberals as ivory-tower defenders of hateful speech.

Stefanik, a Harvard alum, drew widespread praise for her grilling of the elite university presidents on Dec. 5, drawing support from some Democrats who don’t otherwise agree with the conservative lawmaker. University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill stepped down from the post several days after the House education committee’s hearing.

During that hearing, Stefanik took on Harvard University President Claudine Gay, comparing students calling for “intifada” on campus with a “Harvard student calling for the mass murder of African Americans.” She also demanded that Gay answer “yes or no” to whether she agreed these remarks were protected speech at Harvard.

Stefanik, who endorsed Trump for another term in office more than year ago, rarely if ever criticizes the former president in public.

Meanwhile, the Biden campaign escalated its anti-Trump pushback to a new level in a statement that likened the former president’s comments about migrants to the Nazi leader and highlighted his recent statement that he would not be a dictator if elected, “except for day one.”

“Donald Trump channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “He is betting he can win this election by scaring and dividing this country. He’s wrong.”

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