"Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York) — who is thought of as a leading candidate to be former President Donald Trump's 2024 running mate — recently deleted a 2021 statement from her website calling for the prosecution of January 6 participants.
Stefanik apparently deleted the statement after former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) linked to it on Saturday. On her official X/Twitter account, Cheney called the statement a 'rare moment of honesty' from the woman who replaced her as House Republican Conference chair, adding that 'she will have to explain how and why she morphed into a total crackpot.'
Cheney noted in a subsequent tweet that Stefanik deleted the statement from her website without explanation. However, she included a screenshot of the statement in the post, telling her 644,000-plus followers to 'feel free to share.'
'This is a tragic day for America. I fully condemn the dangerous violence and destruction that occurred today at the United States Capitol,' Stefanik said in the now-deleted statement. 'Americans have a Constitutional right to protest and freedom of speech, but violence in any form is absolutely unacceptable and anti-American.'
'The perpetrators of this un-American violence and destruction must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,' she added. 'Thank you to the United States Capitol Police, all law enforcement, the National Guard and the bipartisan professional staff of the United States Capitol for protecting the People's House and the American people.'
The New York Republican has since changed her tune on January 6 defendants, whom she now refers to as 'hostages.' That concerned fellow New York lawmaker Rep. Dan Goldman (D-New York) so much that he filed a censure resolution against Stefanik, calling it 'the culmination of a rhetoric that has gone too far.'
Stefanik may have deleted the statement in order to ingratiate herself with Trump, as his commanding wins in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary move him closer to the Republican presidential nomination and the selection of a running mate. Trump has not only used the 'hostages' label for January 6 rioters, but has promised to pardon the vast bulk of them if elected to a second term. More than 1,200 arrests have been made in connection to the insurrection, and the Department of Justice has secured guilty pleas and convictions from roughly 800 of those charged."