Ever since she was a student at Harvard, Elise Stefanik was expected to do big things. She joined the Bush White House right after graduation and worked various jobs in the former president’s administration.
She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014. She was only 30 at the time and, at that point, the youngest woman ever elected to congress (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a year younger when elected in 2019).
When Stefanik was first elected, she presented herself as a moderate, happy to reach across the aisle. But things have changed drastically since then. The New York Rep. went all in on Donald Trump. And now, with Trump’s blessing, she is attempting to take over Liz Cheney‘s leadership position.
Time’s Charlotte Alter recently spoke to a number of former Stefanik friends for a piece about her rise. The comments about the congresswoman were not favorable.
Margaret Hoover, former Bush White House colleague and PBS host, said of Stefanik, “Elise could have been the face of a new generation of Republicans that could represent a real big-tent party, that could build beyond the base, that could lay the foundation for a coalition that could win elections nationally. It shows that she was never motivated by principles, and that’s deeply disappointing.”
Former GOP congresswoman Barbara Comstock was more blunt. She told Alter, “To be a handmaiden of Trump and get a little pat on the head from Trump is not a leadership move. It’s embarrassing. It’s sad.”
Perhaps the most damning criticism came from Caroline Mason, Stefanik’s former headmistress at the Albany School for Girls. “She basically abandoned her own core values for a man who had no core values.”
You can read the entire profile here.