The attack on the capitol that happened on January 6, 2021 has been one of singularly most dividing events in recent American history. There are many deeply conservative individuals who believe that the participants are American heroes, and there are just as many deeply liberal individuals who see the participants as traitors. The conversation around the event is ongoing, particularly in light of the continuing criminal trials surrounding it.

Election Deniers in Congress

Supporters of the January 6 attack are in Congress, too, with some more vocal than others. The current Speaker of the House himself is a staunch election denier, and is considered to be the architect of the scheme to overturn the 2020 election.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

Less prominent Republicans are also election deniers, though, and they have been very loud in their opinion in the months and years that has followed the attack. One New York representative, Elise Stefanik, has been increasingly vocal in her thoughts surrounding liberals, January 6th, and Donald Trump’s ongoing legal battles.

Elise Stefanik Making Herself Known

Stefanik is one of the many individuals who has been floated as a potential pick for Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential nominee, should he get the Republican bid for president. The increased scrutiny that the congresswoman has been under due to this prominent opinion has allowed her to speak her mind on some fairly controversial issues.

Source: Wikimedia/The United States Senate – Office of Senator Kelly Loeffler

The most recent issue that Stefanik spoke on was January 6, and the role of the vice president during events like it. She recently appeared on The Source on CNN with Kaitlan Collins, speaking boldly about what she would have done on January 6 instead, should she have been vice president.

She Would Have Delayed the Certification

Stefanik stated that she believed, unequivocally, that Mike Pence made the wrong choice on January 6 by certifying the election. She told Collins that, were she the vice president on that day, she would have heeded Trump’s wishes and delayed the certification of the election.

Source: CNN

This is in reference to the fact that Trump, in the months leading up to the 2020 election and the weeks after the fact, claimed with no evidence that the election was rigged. Almost from the beginning of his campaign, he claimed that the only way that the Democrats could win the 2020 election was if they had stolen it.

Mistrust in the Electoral Count

This rhetoric, which was supported by zero evidence and repeated multiple times over in the months leading up to the election, resulted in not only average civilians mistrusting the election and certification process, but members of Congress as well.

Source: CNN

Congressional representatives in both state and federal governments went out of their way to try and prove election fraud in the weeks following the election, as well as the Donald Trump campaign itself. More than sixty lawsuits were filed alleging various types of vote fraud, and every single one of them was ultimately dismissed or found invalid.

Members of Congress Objecting to the Certification

Despite these facts, there were still members of Congress who went into the certification on January 6 with plans to attempt to delay the certification of the election. Objections were made by both senators and representatives from the House alike, but none of them ultimately delayed anything, and Mike Pence formally oversaw the certification of the election late in the evening.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

In her statement, Elise Stefanik claimed that Pence overstepped in certifying the election, despite the fact that the Vice President’s job during the certification is largely ceremonial. This idea has come from Trump repeatedly stating that the Vice President had the right, ability, and obligation to stop the certification of the election in 2020, should there be enough “doubt.”

Collins Clarifying Stefanik’s Statements

Collins was, of course, a little taken aback by these bold comments, and clarified. She asked Stefanik to explain what she would have done on January 6 if she were the vice president, further clarifying if Stefanik would have rejected the votes.

Source: CNN

Stefanik didn’t answer the question directly, instead claiming that there was constitutional overreach in states like Pennsylvania – despite the fact that the election laws that were passed in that state were passed by a Republican-led legislature. She then went on to claim that it was very important to “have legal and secure elections, which we did not have in 2020.”

Questioning Stefanik’s Consistency

Collins pushed back against this statement, though. She pointed out that the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania confirmed that the voting laws were legal. Then she pivoted, asking Stefanik if it would be okay for Vice President Harris to reject electoral counts from the election this fall, should the results not swing for Biden.

Source: CNN

Again, Stefanik didn’t answer the question directly. Instead, she parroted the talking point that elections need to be fair and legal in this country, and then doubled down on her opinion that the 2020 election was not legal when Collins bluntly contradicted her, saying that there was unequivocally no voter fraud in 2020.

“Republicans Are Sowing Doubt”

The interview ended rather contentiously, with Stefanik continuing to claim that there were dubious actions around the election in 2020. She claimed that there were state legislatures that were unilaterally circumventing election law, despite no evidence to support this statement.

Source: CNN

These statements came near the end of the interview, and Collins firmly disagreed with Stefanik. She stated that the only reason that there is still such significant fear around the security of elections is because Republicans are sowing doubt around them, not because there was any actual election fraud in 2020.

Common Talking Points, Unfortunately

Stefanik’s talking points are, unfortunately, common ones among election deniers. In the years since the 2020 election, not only have citizens and members of Congress continued to proliferate election denial talking points, but Donald Trump himself has continued to perpetuate the Big Lie.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

It has made the attitude towards the 2024 election concerned, at best. There are some who believe that, especially in light of what is seeming likely to be a Trump/Biden rematch, there is the possibility for a replay of the events of January 6. The fear of another attack on the capitol and another attack on the Constitution is strong among moderates and liberals, and election deniers like Stefanik do nothing to ease their fears.