Elise Stefanik Calls Imprisoned Jan. 6 Rioters ‘Hostages,’ Echoing Trump | Video

Former Rep. Liz Cheney calls the congresswoman’s comments “disgusting”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York congresswoman and a rumored potential Donald Trump vice presidential candidate, referred to those in prison for the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol “hostages.” Stefanik spent Sunday morning talking with Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press.”

Stefanik expressed her concern for those people and used language that mirrored that of Trump when she told Welker, “I have concerns about the treatment of January 6 hostages. I have concerns – we have a role in Congress of oversight over our treatment of prisoners.

“And I believe that we’re seeing the weaponization of the federal government against not just President Trump, but we’re seeing it against conservatives,” Stefanik continued. “We’re seeing it against Catholics. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so proud to serve on the Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Government, because the American people want answers. They want transparency.”

Stefanik drew a parallel between the Jan. 6 Insurrection and protests organized by members of Black Lives Matter, which are typically in response to police violence and brutality perpetrated against Black Americans — not assaults on our nation’s Capitol. She told Welker, “I’ve been clear Kristen, if you go back and play the full speech I gave on the House floor, I condemn the violence just like I condemn the violence of the BLM riots.”

And because the 2016 campaign featuring Hillary Clinton will truly never end, Stefanik also said that she thinks Americans understand there are “two sets of rules” in the U.S. Also referencing Biden’s son Hunter, Stefanik said, “If your last name is Clinton, or it’s Biden, you get to live by a different set of rules than if you’re an everyday patriotic American.”

Former Rep. Liz Cheney was among those vehemently disagreeing with Stefanik’s use of the word “hostages” to describe Jan. 6 rioters currently behind bars. In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Cheney told Margaret Brennan that Stefanik is deliberating using — and misusing — the word to clearly align herself with Trump.

Brennan cited Stefanik’s comments, adding, “‘Hostages’ is a very specific word. And there are well over 1,200 people in the U.S. legal system going through legal proceedings right now for their role in the attack that day. That word she used is exactly the word that Donald Trump uses.”

Cheney agreed. “And that’s why she’s using it. And it’s outrageous, and it’s disgusting,” Cheney replied. “And if you go and you look at what individuals have been convicted for, who are incarcerated … these are people who were involved in violence against police officers in the assault on the Capitol. And it is really, it’s disgraceful for Donald Trump to be saying what he’s saying.”

In November, Trump used the term “hostages” to describe the imprisoned insurrectionists at a campaign rally in Houston, Texas. He told the crowd at the Nov. 2 event, “I call them the ‘J-6 hostages,’ not ‘prisoners.’ I call them the ‘hostages,’ what’s happened. And it’s a shame.”

Trump’s choice of the word “hostages” is notable in the wake of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, as an estimated 240 people were taken hostage by the terrorist organization and 105 have since been returned. While Trump and Stefanik have not made direct parallels to the events of that war, the subtle invocation of a word so closely tied to a deeply divisive conflict that is still dominating the attention of the world (and Trump’s own repeated attempts to align himself with Israel) is worth examination.

Elsewhere in their conversation, Stefanik and Welker also discussed rumors that the congresswoman could join Trump as his vice president. Stefanik affirmed that if asked to serve a second Trump administration, she would be on board.

“Well, I of course would be honored to serve in any capacity in the Trump administration,” Stefanik said. “And I’m proud to be the first member of Congress to endorse his re-election. I’m proud to be a strong supporter of President Trump, and he’s going win this November.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s officially on the team… yet. When pushed, Stefanik reiterated her point: “Well, I’ve said for a year now I’d be honored to serve in the next Trump administration. And – but I’m focused on doing my job right now, which is a really important role as the conference chair and as most importantly, the representative for the people of New York 21.”

Watch the interviews with Stefanik and Cheney in the videos above.

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