The morning after Rep. Elise M. Stefanik spoke at the Republican National Convention, her Democratic challenger in the race for the 21st Congressional District condemned the speech.
Tedra L. Cobb said Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, was “worrying about herself, making speeches and furthering her own career.”
“She has time to go to Iowa, she has time to go to Tulsa, time to go to Washington and speak at a national political convention, but she doesn’t have time to fight for families here,” Ms. Cobb said.
Ms. Cobb remarked in an interview how, at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, and have lost their employer-linked healthcare, Rep. Stefanik voted against emergency unemployment benefits and has continually voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Ms. Cobb was referencing the HEROES Act, which would have, among other things, extended the $600 federal unemployment benefits through to the end of 2021. Rep. Stefanik voted against that bill, as did all but one other Republican representative. The measure passed the majority-Democratic House, but has languished in the Senate without a scheduled vote.
During her Wednesday night speech, Rep. Stefanik briefly referenced Fort Drum, the 10th Mountain Division, and recalled the time that President Donald J. Trump visited the fort to sign the National Defense Authorization Act in 2018. Ms. Cobb said she takes issue with Rep. Stefanik talking about Fort Drum, while she refuses to talk about the claims that Russian intelligence agents have paid Taliban militias to kill American and allied soldiers in Afghanistan.
“Elise Stefanik ought to spend less time focusing on what’s happening in Washington and more time worrying about the bounties that have been put on American troops,” Ms. Cobb said. “She represents Fort Drum, and she uses the military and Fort Drum and our veterans as talking points and a photo opportunity, but when we learned about Russia placing bounties on the lives of American troops in Afghanistan, Elise Stefanik remained silent.”
Rep. Stefanik has taken the position that it is inappropriate to talk about the allegations of Russian bounties on American troops, because the revelations only became public after the classified intelligence was leaked to the New York Times. She has said that it is inappropriate and dangerous for an elected official, or a candidate for federal office, to talk about the “unverified, illegal leaks.”
Ms. Cobb said that she believes Rep. Stefanik has remained silent on the issue to protect President Donald J. Trump.
“She sits on the House Intelligence Committee and the Armed Services Committee, and yet she has allowed her loyalty to the president to stand in the way of protecting American heroes,” Ms. Cobb said.
A portion of Rep. Stefanik’s speech on Wednesday was dedicated to contrasting what she termed President Trump’s “record of results,” to Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden’s “far-left failed policies of the past 47 years.”
Ms. Cobb disagreed with that characterization of Mr. Biden’s legacy.
“Joe Biden passed the Violence Against Women Act,” she said. “He helped pass the Affordable Care Act, he has fought to protect people with preexisting conditions, people like my own daughter Aida, and he has worked to lower the cost of healthcare for all Americans. These are things that Elise Stefanik has voted against. So again, I’ll ask, how does her grandstanding for Trump in Washington help the people of the north country?”
Ms. Cobb said that this speech was another example of Rep. Stefanik bringing the “worst of Washington,” back to the north country, with what she called “lying, name calling and misrepresenting of other people.”
“That is the worst of Washington, and that is Elise Stefanik,” Ms. Cobb said.