Home Economy Harvard graduate Stefanik becomes face of GOP charge against elite universities

Harvard graduate Stefanik becomes face of GOP charge against elite universities


U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has become a powerful voice in the Senate impeachment trial for President Trump, but her attention-grabbing profile has also cast a spotlight on the member of Congress from New York’s North Country.

The 35-year-old Harvard graduate used her background to challenge what she called “the intellectual attack from the left” — an attack she said was “led by the leaders of our elite universities.”

The House Intelligence Committee member made headlines Wednesday defending Trump from what she considered “ambush” techniques used by the president’s opponents in the House.

But her biggest platform may have been the Senate floor where she accused members of “elite universities” of ignoring the law “in order to advance their own agenda.”

Her critique of elites — not just Harvard — has resonated with some Republicans.

“Elise is pointing out the obvious — that these elite universities are imposing their own agendas, politics and values on the country,” Republican strategist Lisa Boothe told the Washington Examiner. “It is a slap in the face to the rest of the country where differing political views can exist.”

That message has been welcomed by those who view the views of America’s most prestigious universities as being too far left and out of touch.

Stefanik also used her Harvard experience to draw a contrast between her alma mater and the military, which she says she values more.

“My Harvard degree is important and it certainly gave me access to opportunities,” she said. “But my time in the military actually taught me more important values of service and leadership.”

Stefanik was also a trained policymaker in the Navy, which some conservatives have described as an example of her values-based approach to politics.

Whatever the impact of her performance, Stefanik has become a symbol of the Republican Party’s pushback against alleged elitism in higher education. As Trump Waterhouse’s GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio put it, “Elite universities should take notice.”

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