Trump mulls naming Elise Stefanik as VP in 2024 presidential run

'She's a killer,' Trump says as sources close to the former president tell US news outlet her consideration is gaining traction over Mike Pence's; Republican supporters bolster conspiracy theory that says Taylor Swift is Pentagon spy
NBC News reported Thursday that former U.S. President Donald Trump, expected to be the Republican Party's presidential candidate in the upcoming November elections, is considering appointing his fervent supporter from New York, Rep. Elise Stefanik, as running mate.
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Stefanik is known in Israel for leading the congressional hearing on rising antisemitism on American campuses. During that hearing, Stefanik criticized university presidents who refused to explicitly state that calling for the genocide of Jews is a hate crime and a violation of their institutions' ethical code.
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ארה"ב חברת קונגרס בית הנבחרים אליס סטפניק מוזכרת כמועמדת ל סגנית של טראמפ
ארה"ב חברת קונגרס בית הנבחרים אליס סטפניק מוזכרת כמועמדת ל סגנית של טראמפ
Rep. Elise Stefanik
(Photo: Kent Nishimura / AFP)
According to NBC’s report, during a dinner held in December 2023 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump was asked who he’d choose as his vice president in the race. When Stefanik's name came as a possible candidate, he nodded affirmatively and said: "She's a killer."
According to the report, more and more of Trump's associates have since reportedly been examining Stefanik as a potential candidate. The report is based on eight sources, including some in Trump's inner circle.
The 39-year-old Stefanik made headlines in the U.S. and worldwide following a hearing held in Congress in December against the backdrop of massive protests against Israel's actions in Gaza, which included antisemitic incidents, anti-Israel slogans, and vandalism of posters featuring images of Israeli hostages following the October 7 attack.
During the hearing, she posed a question to the presidents of Harvard, Pennsylvania, and MIT asking whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is bullying and harassment according to the universities’ code of conduct and if such hate speech is allowed on campuses.
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נשיא ארה"ב לשעבר דונלד טראמפ
נשיא ארה"ב לשעבר דונלד טראמפ
Donald Trump
The three university presidents evaded the question, and Stefanik was particularly astonished by the answer that such calls "depend on the context," an answer which later became viral across social media. Two of the three presidents eventually resigned from their positions.
According to NBC, Stefanik was already on Trump's radar before the hearing due to her loyalty. "Stefanik is at the top," Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist behind his 2016 victory, told NBC.
"If you’re Trump, you want someone who’s loyal above all else," added another Republican campaign activist. "Particularly because he sees Mike Pence (Trump’s former vice president, who refused to assist him in overturning the 2020 election results) as having committed a fatal sin.”
When asked by NBC if she’d be interested in the role supporting Trump, Stefanik told the network that she’s focused on her work in the U.S. Congress: "I’m not going to get into any of my conversations with President Trump. I’m honored to call him a friend. I’m proud to be the first member of Congress to have endorsed his re-election, and he had a huge win in Iowa. So we’re very excited about that.”

MAGA vs Taylor Swift

Meanwhile, on the Republican party’s right camp, conspiracy theories continue to thrive. A senior figure at Fox News recently publicly endorsed a conspiracy theory suggesting that pop star Taylor Swift might be a "Pentagon asset," essentially serving as a covert agent to advance the Democratic political agenda.
Fox News host Jesse Watters addressed Swift's tremendous success in the past year. "She’s all right, but I mean, have you ever wondered why or how she blew up like this? Well, around four years ago, the Pentagon psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset during a NATO meeting. What kind of asset? A PsyOp for combatting online misinformation," according to Watters.
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ארה"ב בחירות פריימריז רפובליקניים דונלד טראמפ טיילור סוויפט
ארה"ב בחירות פריימריז רפובליקניים דונלד טראמפ טיילור סוויפט
Taylor Swift, Donald Trump
(Photo: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Later, Watters presented a clip from the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center held in 2019, where Swift was mentioned in a presentation discussing how influential figures could help combat the spread of misinformation. A researcher not affiliated with NATO cited the singer as an example of a popular influencer.
To support his idea, Watters also referenced reports of a surge in traffic to the website in September, immediately after Swift posted an Instagram story encouraging her fans to participate in the National Voter Registration Day to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming November elections.
In a following segment, Watters acknowledged that he has no evidence to support his claims. According to official data, approximately 2.5 million people, on average, watch Watters' program, which airs during prime time, making it the second most-watched news program on cable in the United States.
Watters' comments come against the backdrop of numerous attacks Taylor Swift has faced from extreme right-wing figures in the past year, alongside the growth in her popularity. Radio host Stew Peters, for example, accused her of involvement in witchcraft during her performances and claimed she was responsible for murder after her boyfriend, football player Travis Kelce, appeared in an advertisement promoting vaccinations.
Swift’s opposers attempted to link her to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein through manipulated photos circulated via social media, and conspiracy theorists attacked her for her private life and public appearances.
The claim that Swift is a covert Democratic agent was spread on social media before Watters publicly addressed it. An outspoken QAnon conspiracy theorist, for instance, wrote: "I've said it from the beginning.”
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טיילור סוויפט
טיילור סוויפט
Taylor Swift
(Photo: Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
“Not only is Swift, by her OWN ADMISSION, a satanic witch, she is also a TOOL OF THE PENTAGON to influence the vote of THOUSANDS of young voters," Laura Loomer, an extreme right-wing figure who ran for U.S. Congress and helped spread the claims that the singer is a psychological warfare tool, also asserted that "2024 will be MAGA vs Swifties."
MAGA stands for Trump’s 2020 election slogan, "Make America Great Again," and "Swifties" is a term used by Taylor Swift fans.
Even if these are only conspiracy theories, there's no doubt that Swift, who doesn't hide her Democratic positions, will have significant influence in the upcoming elections.
"I cannot think of another celebrity whose endorsement and activities on behalf of a candidate would be more coveted,” said David Jackson, a professor of political science at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Therefore, he also believes that attacks against her will only intensify.
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