But in 2015, 2016 and the early days of his first term in office, Stefanik criticized Trump over everything from his incendiary comments about Muslims and women to his signature policy positions, such as reforming NATO, building a US-Mexico border wall and having stronger cooperation with Russia.
In another interview, in which she didn’t mention Trump by name, Stefanik blasted candidates who disqualified themselves by making “untruthful statements.”
Stefanik also frequently criticized Trump’s rhetoric, saying in one January 2016 interview, “Unfortunately, it’s tapping into the fear today of our security situation.” She added, “I think we should expect more substance out of our candidates.”
CNN reached out to Stefanik’s office, but they declined to comment on the record.
“The energy was just palpable. Anyone on the ground or who was knocking on doors, talking to voters, understood that it was going to be a historic election. The media didn’t get it. The establishment didn’t get it. I was proud to be a part of it. And I was proud to be on that ticket and to win by a huge, huge margin as well as President Trump’s huge double-digit victory in my district,” she said.
Stefanik also said Trump’s “insulting” rhetoric about women hurt the Republican Party’s efforts to expand its appeal to women voters.
“We need to ensure that we’re increasing our party’s ability to reach out to women,” she added. “And I work on that in Congress. I care passionately about that. And Donald Trump’s comments have not helped that effort. They’ve hurt that effort.”
In October 2016, after Trump’s crude and sexist comments on the infamous Access Hollywood tape emerged, Stefanik called Trump’s comments wrong.
The Muslim ban
“And I associate myself with Speaker (Paul) Ryan’s comment just saying there is no place for what Trump said about Muslims in this country.”
After Trump won the Republican primary, Stefanik’s critiques of him did not diminish, even though she pledged to support the Republican nominee. Stefanik criticized Trump for attacking Khizr Khan, a 2016 speaker at the Democratic National Convention whose Muslim son was killed in Iraq while serving as a US soldier in 2004.
In the same interview, she noted that she would always support the GOP nominee but “I’m an independent voice and that has not changed.”
The wall and foreign affairs
While Trump campaigned for president in 2016, Stefanik opposed his signature policy proposals, including building a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Talking to the Press-Republican, a Plattsburgh, New York, newspaper in Stefanik’s district, in February 2016, Stefanik said she disagreed on the need to build a wall on the southern border.
When asked again about the wall in May 2017, months after Trump had taken office, Stefanik said the President’s plan wasn’t realistic.
During the campaign, Stefanik also was dismissive of Trump’s foreign affairs plans.
Though she had backed Trump for president, saying he was preferable to the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Stefanik said his military proposals were “absolutely not a good idea,” but suggested her positions on the House Armed Services Committee allowed her to be a check on Trump.